It’d be a shame to go all the way to Fiordland National Park and not do a walk. This most scenic of New Zealand regions is made to explore on two feet, and over the last few years we’ve done a fair few of the walks in Fiordland National Park. These range from short walks to stunning viewpoints to day walks and the multi-day Great Walks. Looking for the best walks in Fiordland National Park? You’ve come to the right place!
Short Walks near Milford Sound
These walks range from 5-minutes to just under an hour, meaning you can do a few of them on a day trip to Milford Sound.
So this walk is only around 5-minutes long, so it only barely made it on this list. Such a nice spot though – and one that’s very easy to visit — the tour buses even stop at Mirror Lakes.
Lake Marian Falls
The track to Lake Marian first passes by Lake Marian Falls – if you’re short on time it’s worth just going to the falls and back. It’s a fairly easy walk, but if you’ve got the time I’d consider walking all the way to Lake Marian.
A short forest track takes you to a viewpoint where you’ll see Humboldt Falls in the distance. It’s a massive waterfall and it’s cool to see, but you can’t get as close to it as you might expect.
Lake Gunn Nature Walk
This low-key walking track winds it’s way through a mossy forest and then opens to some great views of Lake Gunn. There’s a camping ground there too – it’s a fun little walk to do before dinner if you decide to camp there!
Longer Walks Nearby
There are some awesome day walks close to Milford Sound, including our favourite day walk in all New Zealand!
It takes 3-4 hours to walk to Lake Marian and back, making it the perfect option for those wanting a longer (but not too long) walk in Fiordland National Park. There aren’t too man views along the way, but once you see the lake, perfectly situated among the mountains, you’ll see what all the fuss is about.
The Gertrude Saddle Track is full of variety. First you’ll walk through a pristine valley, then up a rocky slope to Black Lake, then higher again to Gertrude Saddle where you’ll see an incredible view down another pristine valley. Milford Sound even pops its head out on a clear day.
This view is very similar to ones you see on the Milford Track – a great alternative if you didn’t book early enough. Do bear in mind this track is quite dangerous and shouldn’t be attempted outside of summer – read our post on the Gertrude Saddle Track for more information.
Key Summit is an option add-on at the end of the Routeburn Track, but since it’s so close to the car park it makes for a great day walk option. There are some awesome views at the top (among the best views on the Routeburn Track) and it’ll only take 2-3 hours — if you want a longer walk you could also go to Earland Falls.
Tutoko Valley Track
I’m not a massive fan of the Tutoko Valley Track (as you’ll soon find out if you read my post about it) but if you’re after an adventure and want to get off the beaten path, this could be the walk for you. It’s mostly a slog along a rough forest track, but the views at the end are special.
Walks in other parts of Fiordland National Park
Here are some walks in Fiordland National Park that aren’t on the way to Milford Sound — a bit out of the way for most people but awesome walks if you seek them out.
The Lake Hauroko Lookout Track, located closer to Tuatapere than Te Anau, is a great option for people driving the Southern Scenic Route. The track takes you up a hill above Lake Hauroko (New Zealand’s deepest lake) for some incredible views. Definitely one of the best walks in Fiordland National Park, and one that not many people tend to do.
The Circle Track, Lake Manapouri
This is another track that doesn’t quite see the numbers as the more popular spots closer to Milford Sound. That’s also due to the fact that you have to catch a boat across the Waiau River to the start of the track. Those that walk the Circle Track are rewarded with great views over Lake Manapouri and some nice beach scenes towards the end.
There are three Great Walks in Fiordland National Park – you’ll need to book early but the views on offer will blow you away!
Of the three Great Walks in Fiordland National Park, I reckon the Kepler Track is the hardest. It starts with a big day – eventually climbing all the way up to Luxmore Hut. You can walk the Kepler Track in three days (as we did) – some great views on offer but a bit more bush walking than the other two Great Walks, including a fairly dull last day.
The Routeburn Track straddles two National Parks – Fiordland and Mount Aspiring. It’s easy for a Great Walk and there’s a good variety of views on offer, including waterfalls, colourful lakes and some incredible vistas over the Hollyford Valley.
The Milford Track is my favourite of the three Great Walks in Fiordland National Park. It takes four days to complete, but the first day is very easy (less than two hours of flat walking). There are so many cool aspects of the Milford Track, from the beautiful Clinton Valley to the wonders of Mackinnon Pass.
Other Walks in Fiordland
This is just a list of walks in Fiordland National Park that we’ve done – but there are heaps more. You’ve got the multi-day Greenstone / Caples Track, as well as plenty of other off the beaten path walks throughout the region. We’ll keep exploring and adding to this list, but I reckon doing all the walks I’ve mentioned would be more than enough for most people (I am a travel blogger after all, so I kinda have to keep exploring these areas – it’s a tough life!).
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