Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
One of New Zealand’s most popular cruise destinations, the Fiordland National Park is located in the southwest corner of the country’s South Island.
A World Heritage Site since 1986, the National Park covers an astonishing 1.2 million hectares and includes the world-famous Milord, Doubtful and Dusky Sounds. Encompassing dramatic mountain peaks, 100,000-year-old glaciers, cascading waterfalls, ancient rainforests, sparkling lakes, and spectacular wildlife, Fiordland National Park never fails to capture the wonderment of travellers.
Fiordland National Park is typically a cruise-by destination, with the main attractions of Milford, Dusky and Doubtful Sounds featuring on the itineraries of many ships traveling around New Zealand’s South Island each year.
Depending on the cruise line, there are opportunities for travellers to tender ashore at various points in the National Park, where it’s possible to enjoy a range of water activities or embark on overland tours.
How to Get Around
A visit to Fiordland National Park, including Milford, Dusky and Doubtful Sounds, is typically included in visiting cruise ships’ New Zealand itineraries.
Passengers booked on overland tours to Te Anau and Queenstown can be tendered ashore at Milford Sound.
Travel times from Milford Sound
- 1.5 hours to Te Anau
- 3.5 hours to Queenstown
- 3.5 hours to Queenstown Airport
- Currency - the local currency in the Fiordland National Park region is the New Zealand Dollar. Coins come in 10, 20 and 50-cent denominations, as well as 1 and 2-dollar coins. Notes come in 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100-dollar denominations.
- Time Zone - Fiordland National Park uses New Zealand Standard Time (NZST), which is 12 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+12). From October to March the area uses New Zealand Daylight Time (NZDT), which is 13 hours ahead (UTC+13).
- Weather - Fiordland National Park has a highly changeable climate, with cold temperatures, snow, strong winds, heavy rain and sunshine occurring at any time of the year. Average temperatures range from 23 degrees Celsius in January to 8 degrees Celsius in July.
- Milford Sound - the best known of all Fiordland National Park’s attractions, Milford Sound is one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations. Surrounded by sheer rock faces, waterfalls, ancient glaciers and a host of exotic wildlife, a cruise through Milford Sound is an unforgettable experience.
- Doubtful Sound - often referred to as the ‘Sound of Silence’, Doubtful Sound is rich in native flora and fauna; don’t be surprised if you spot New Zealand fur seals or Fiordland crested penguins. Rugged and mountainous, Doubtful Sound is home to hundreds of cascading waterfalls during its rainy season, including the majestic Helena Falls and Browne Falls.
- Dusky Sound - at 40 kilometres in length and 8 kilometres at its widest point, Dusky Sound is one of Fiordland National Park’s largest fiords. Located at the very southwest corner of New Zealand, the Sound is characterised by several large islands, most notably Anchor Island, Long Island and Cooper Island.
- Wildlife Sightseeing - Fiordland National Park is known for its abundance of native bird, marine and wildlife. Bottlenose dolphins, baleen whales, New Zealand fur seals and Fiordland crested penguins are just some of the species that call this region home. Regular sightings of seabirds like the curlew, shag, petrel and duck are also common.