Fabulous Fiordland!

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We strapped on the hiking boots and took to some of the scenic walks in this world famous wonderland.

Where to stay
Te Anau is a great base for Fiordland, although if you’ve got mobile accommodation (Caravan or Motorhome) then I’d suggest one of the many DoC campgrounds in the area.

Cascade Creek along the Milford Rd within the Fiordland National Park is our pick to stay. It is the largest Doc Camp and the last one before Milford Sound. Like all the DoC Camps in Fiordland National Park, it is $15pp per night, but we stayed using our annual DoC Pass.  It is a large, flat area, sited between Cascade Creek and the stream flowing out of the eastern end of Lake Gunn.

 

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Lake Gunn Nature Walk
We enjoyed the beautiful nature walk which takes you to the shores of Lake Gunn.  Instead of doing the loop, you can divert off and follow the outlet stream that will bring you back to basecamp. It is a very enjoyable 45-minute stroll through moss-laden trees and a crystal clear babbling stream.

 

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Lake Marian Track 
This is a more challenging 3 hour hike but one worth conquering. If you aren’t keen on a 3-hour arduous hike to the lake and back, then I urge you to take the shorter 20-minute easy stroll across the suspension bridge to the Viewing Gantry.

The Marian Falls are just stunning.  The sheer amount of water coming down the rocks and boulders are mesmerising.  The wooden walkways take you close to the action and literally overhang the roaring waterways. Leaving the roaring sounds of the falls behind us, it was all hiking uphill from there.  We climbed and climbed, sometimes hopping and skipping from one boulder and rock to the next. After about 90 mins of huffing and puffing the gorgeous turquoise lake Marian opened out in front of us. It is truly jaw-dropping, sitting in a hanging valley (carved by glaciers) between the peaks of Mt Christina, Mount Crosscut and Mt Gunn.

 

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Key Summit Day Hike
If you aren’t into multi-day hikes or short on time, then the day hike to the Key Summit is the one for you.  This is a section of the multi-day hike, The Routeburn Track and starts at The Divide carpark. From The Divide carpark allow an hour to get to where the Routeburn Track branches into two.  Take the right-hand trail that continues uphill.  It is another 20 minutes of climbing to get to the top.  There are lots of zigzagging to get to the top but as with all things, worth the extra effort.

We paused at the ‘official’ Key Summit and marvelled at the panoramic views splayed out before us. It is about now that you realise just how massive the Fiordland National Park is. 

A further 10 min walk takes you to the outlook of the hanging valley & Lake Marian. There are some very conveniently placed bench seats to sit and ponder life, the views & breathe in the pure air.

 

Milford Sound Cruise Tour from Queenstown or Te Anau

 

Just cruise 
If hiking is not your thing then now is a great time to drive or bus into Milford Sound and take a cruise. There are plenty of operators who need all the help they can get at in the current environment, just remember to make your bookings before driving or entering the Fiordland National Park as there is no internet coverage past Te Anau.

We feel that it is a privilege to be able to just pop in and explore the Fiordland National Park. Driving along SH94 shows NZ’s wild side at its best. If you have been thinking about exploring the Fiordland National Park, I would encourage you to do it sooner rather than later.  It has made such a difference not having the excessive amount of overseas tourists visiting the area either by coach, car or campervan.  Its given mother nature time to breathe, regenerate and relax just a bit.

STORY BY: Scotty & Linda / kiwisflythecoup.com

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