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Fiordland National Park

Fiordland National Park is a series of fourteen massive glaciers formed during successive ice ages.

Towering, snow-capped peaks reflect in the midnight blue fingers of ocean that reach into the park's thickly forested interior, where you can find trees that are more than 800 years old. For sheer drama, few places of earth can compete with this remarkable natural environment.

In 1990 Fiordland was listed as a United Nations World Heritage site and given the name Te Wahipounamu - 'the place of greenstone', after the area's most treasured mineral resource.

Key Highlights

A fiord is defined as a u-shaped glacier-carved valley which has been flooded by the sea. The fourteen fiords that fringe the southwest corner of the South Island were 100,000 years in the making, with the final details added during the most recent ice age just 10,000 years ago. The Maori attributed the creation of the fiords to a giant stonemason called Tute Rakiwhanoa, who hued out the steep sided valleys with his adzes.

On all sides of the fiords, spectacular waterfalls tumble incessantly as the region's plentiful rainfall finds its way to the sea.

The remaining two thirds of Fiordland National Park are covered by virgin beech and podocarp forest. A 500 kilometre network of walking tracks allows visitors to explore the primeval world of mountain peaks, alpine lakes and moss-carpeted valleys.