Nestled in the western corner of New Zealand’s South Island, Fiordland National Park is a World Heritage site and is the renowned home of breath-taking Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound.
This region of New Zealand is present to a striking and dramatic landscape, making it the top destination to visit in New Zealand. A traditional Maori legend suggests that TuTeRakiWhanoa, a Godly being, sculpted the fiords himself.
It is hard to imagine what geographical events could lead to such a captivating landscape, but this element of wonder makes the fiords even more spectacular.
TeAnau is the closet town to the fiords and offers a mysterious underground world of thousands of shimmering glow-worms.
Milford Sound: The Most Visited Place In New Zealand
Milford Sound is the only fiord that is accessible by road, but the best way to explore it is on a Milford Sound Nature Cruise as it allows you to get up close and personal to the diverse wildlife found here, including playful dolphins and seals.
If you visit during the right season you can see the extremely rare and treasured Fiordland crested penguins.
As you travel down the narrow 22-kilometre fiord, a mesmerizing hedge of cliffs, peaks, thick native forest and stunning waterfalls will surround you. This region of New Zealand is often visited by rain, which causes an eerie ambiance as the mist softens the towering peaks.
Doubtful Sound: The Sound of Pure Silence
While Milford Sound is the most visited of the fiords, Doubtful Sound has a lot to offer – it is three times the size of Milford Sound and has the advantage of no inhabitants and no helicopters or planes flying overhead.
Doubtful Sound is dubbed the Sound of Silence, which will only be broken by the sound of a cascading waterfall or the sweet melody of birdsong. This silence is what sets Doubtful Sound apart from the other fiords and provides you with the tranquillity to really appreciate the breath-taking scenery.
Because of the vastness and sheer size of Doubtful Sound, it’s important you select a tour that will allow you to properly explore this natural wonder.
The Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise has been specially designed to showcase the highlights of this fiord, while tailoring each day to the weather conditions and wildlife sightings.
When To Visit The Sounds
March, April and May are a great time to visit as you will miss the peak tourist season, allowing you a little more privacy to savour the spectacular beauty of Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound.
The Fiordlands are known to have four seasons in one day; it is not unusual to go from sunshine to rain in what feels like minutes, so pack appropriately.
The Hidden Wonders of TeAnau
TeAnau is the closet town to the Fiordland National park and is a sleepy, small town.
Many visitors to the region use it as a base for visiting the Sounds, but neglect to explore one of its greatest secrets: the glow-worm caves. These caves have been carved over 12,000 years by the force of the river flowing through them and are home to special glow-worms that are unique to New Zealand.
To visit the glow-worm caves; you will enjoy a short cruise to the Western Shores of TeAnau Lake, before taking a much smaller boat through the caves.
The caves are gently lit up so you can see the striking shape of the limestone and the incredible detail that the water has itched into the caves.
As you head further into the caves, silence creeps in and the ceiling of the cave is lit up with thousands of little glittering glow-worms.
Visiting the glow-worms will delight travellers of all ages, but especially is great for children who will be delighted by the star-like appearance of the sparkly glow-worms.
No trip to New Zealand would be complete without visiting one of the extraordinary fiords, whether you choose Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound or spoil yourself with a visit to both.
While in the area, make sure you don’t pass up the special and natural wonder of visiting TeAnau caves and their illuminated inhabitants.
These places all offer you a distinctively New Zealand experience, while showcasing some of the best natural wonders in the world.
To discover more about excursions to Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and TeAnau’sGlowworm Caves visit: www.realjourneys.co.nz