Friday, August 7, 2009
Image Courtesy Real Journeys - www.realjourneys.co.nz
Fiordland National Park at the bottom of the South Island is home to some of the most dramatic scenery in New Zealand. This 1.2 million hectare World Heritage Site - which accounts for more than 40% of New Zealand's national park area - is largely unpopulated and as the jagged, unforgiving mountains stride across the land they create a network of spectacular fiords and inlets - pristine and inhospitable at the same time. It's been said many times but it IS the wildest, wettest and remotest part of New Zealand. Two main lakes Te Anau and Manapouri sit at the northern edge of Fiordland and its two most famous Fiords, Doubtful and Milford Sound are the core of tourism activities in the region. I've never really ventured into Fiordland - there are few people who could say they have; although I have been to Te Anau and Milford Sound several times in my role as travel guide writer. Personally I have no real urge to go beyond that - into Doubtful Sound perhaps - but further afield just seems too daunting and forbidding for me. I'm not one for hacking my way through inpenetrable bush for the sake of it, although I must say the region does still hold a certain mysterious allure. It's just the sort of place you might expect to find some long lost tribe and in fact there have been discoveries of long-lost wildlife...as in 1948 when the flightless takahe, previously thought to have been extinct, was rediscovered in the Murchison Mountains.