Fiordland, South Island

including Te Anau and Milford Sound

HERO Fiordland with kids2

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland

HERO Fiordland 2

Family Holiday, Fiordland

HERO Fiordland 3

Milford Sound, Fiordland

HERO Fiordland 4

Fiordland : remote longdrop

Welcome to Fiordland

Te Anau

Walks and Parks

Walks & Parks

Get Outdoors!

Discover the region's walks, parks, beaches, lakes or rivers.

Te Anau – the gateway to the Fiordland National Park – is only 2 hours drive from Queenstown. Situated on the shores of Lake Te Anau, one of the great Southern Lakes, this lively and pretty lakeside community bustles with cafés, shops, accommodation and activities. Te Anau is the nearest town to Milford and Doubtful Sounds as well as having the famous Milford and Kepler Great Walks on its doorstep.

The name Te Anau is of Maori origin (Te Ana-au), meaning ‘rushing waters in a cave’ but the caves were only rediscovered in the 1940s. At 12,000 years old, the caves are relatively young and are still being formed by water action. These days they’re famous for the glowworm grotto deep inside.


Only 15 minutes drive from Te Anau, the township nestles beside what is renowned as New Zealand’s most beautiful lake. The lake’s dotted with over 30 small islands, covered in native bush and accessible by boat. Lake Manapouri, or ‘Lake of the Sorrowing Heart’, is the gateway to Doubtful Sound and home to part of the famous Kepler Track.

The Bridesmaids of New Zealand Lakes is the affectionate name often bestowed on Lake Te Anau, NZ’s second largest lake, and Lake Manapouri, the second deepest!

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Milford Sound

Described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’, Milford Sound is one of the jewels in the Fiordland Crown. It’s actually a fiord – created by rivers of glacial ice and flanked on both sides by sheer rock face, rising up to awe-inspiring heights. Milford Sound is constantly bombarded by water flowing from the mountaintops, falling thousands of feet down into the fiord – a truly incredible sight. Milford Sound’s beauty alone is breathtaking, but add to that the abundance of wildlife; the fur seals, rare fiordland crested penguins, and the favourites of everyone, bottlenose dolphins. These fellows frequently lead the cruise boats, playing in the bow waves as they head out to the wild west coast of New Zealand.

Doubtful Sound

Captain James Cook sighted the entrance to Doubtful Sound on his first voyage to New Zealand in 1770. He called the place Doubtful Harbour and didn’t enter the sound because he was doubtful about whether he could turn back round and make an exit back to sea. Doubtful Sound, moody and mysterious, is often known as the ‘Sound of Silence’. It’s a staggering 10 times bigger than Milford Sound and also home to fur seals, fiordland crested penguins and dolphins.

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Map of New Zealand
  • Central Otago
  • Auckland
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Christchurch
  • Dunedin
  • Coromandel
  • Gisborne
  • Fiordland
  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Manawatu
  • Northland
  • North Canterbury
  • Queenstown
  • South Canterbury
  • Taranaki
  • Southland
  • Taupo
  • Wanaka
  • Waikato
  • Wellington
  • West Coast
  • Whangarei
  • Bay of Islands
  • Tauranga
  • Gisborne
  • Hamilton
  • Napier
  • Kapiti
  • Palmerston North
  • Whanganui
  • New Plymouth
  • Arrowtown
  • Te Anau
  • Akaroa
  • Ashburton
  • Hanmer
  • Kaikoura
  • Methven
  • Mt Cook
  • Oamaru
  • Tekapo
  • Timaru
  • Abel Tasman
  • Motueka
  • Nelson Lakes
  • Blenheim
  • Picton
  • Catlins
  • Gore
  • Stewart Island
  • Central Plateau
  • Invercargill
  • Cromwell
  • Greymouth
  • Hokitika
  • Westport
  • Glenorchy

Our favourite destinations…


New Zealand’s economic heart and biggest city is also an exciting family visitor destination, situated on a sunny harbour with city beaches just minutes away from the CBD. Orientate yourself by heading down to Viaduct Harbour, wandering the waterfront, checking out the super yachts or enjoying the waterfront restaurants. Nearby is the must-visit Sky Tower along with excellent and kid-friendly museums and tons of exciting activities!


Wellington is New Zealand’s capital. Here you will find New Zealand's parliament buildings, including the 'Executive Wing', more well-known as 'The Beehive' due to its distinctive shape. Another icon to look out for is the Wellington Tram, which was the main means of public transport between 1878 and 1964.


With a population of around 400,000 Christchurch, in Canterbury, is the South Island ’s largest city, yet much of it has the feel of a small town. Perhaps that’s why it’s known as the Garden City but with the expansive Hagley Park, Botanic Gardens, Port Hills, River Avon and numerous beaches the city certainly has an open, relaxed feel that’s hard to beat.


With its well-deserved reputation as New Zealand’s activity adventure capital you’ll never run out of activities and things to do in Queenstown, but you may run out of time! With breathtaking scenery, activities and festivals, cafes and restaurants, skiing and snowboarding, shopping and wineries, this lakeside alpine resort rates as one of the world’s top vacation destinations for all ages and seasons.


Rotorua sits on the shore of Lake Rotorua, one of sixteen lakes in the area formed by hundreds of thousands of years of eruptions from the Taupo Volcanic Zone. The area is renowned for its geothermal activity and top of any activity list is to see the bubbling mud pools that are around the region for yourself. The Waimangu Volcanic Valley offers a first hand insight into the devastation caused by the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera and is a great place to discover steaming volcanic craters and bubbling, spitting  pools of mud!

Nelson and Golden Bay

The Nelson and Golden Bay regions, at the top of the South Island, boast enviable sunshine hours, glorious sandy beaches, safe swimming spots, lots of wildlife to look out for, and Abel Tasman National Park - an absolute must to explore, on foot, by kayak, your own craft or watertaxi.  Nelson is home to a vibrant arts and crafts community with a fabulous Saturday market, and is close to award-winning wineries and family-friendly bike tracks to take you around the coast.

Hawkes Bay

Napier was rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake and is now known as NZ's Art Deco City.  The Art Deco influence has created a unique city – nowhere else can you see such a varied concentration of art deco style. With over 2,200 sunshine hours a year, Napier is a year-round holiday destination with countless activities to entertain the kids – there's days of entertainment on Marine Parade alone, plus numerous other family-friendly trips and activities.  Add to that the beaches, walks and flat cycle paths, outdoor cafes and entertainment, and you have a perfect holiday destination!


Beautiful, unspoiled beaches, fishing, historic gum fields, kauri forests – the Far North has it all. With subtropical temperatures, it's often known as ‘the Winterless north', with warm, humid summers and mild winters.
Gateway to the Bay of Islands, Paihia is a pretty, lively beachside town and a perfect base for your family holiday. It’s your start point for Bay of Island adventures including day cruises, sailing, kayaking, swimming with dolphins and reef or wreck diving.