Fiordland National Park

Lake Gunn Nature Walk, Fiordland National Park

This short hiking trail takes you through a mossy forest to the shores of Lake Gunn — it’s a great little detour from the road to Milford Sound. The walk only takes around 20 minutes and is an awesome thing to do just before sunset (after which you can sleep at the nearby DOC camp).

Walking through the forest

The Lake Gunn Nature Walk meanders through an electric green forest. It looks a bit like the forests of Caprica from Battlestar Galactica. If you’re ever going to see a fairy, a talking toad or a cylon it’ll be somewhere like this. There are dozens of moss covered fallen trees scattered throughout the forest and native birds sing overhead. The loop track is completely flat and well maintained — this is a hike that most people will find easy.

Lake Gunn Nature Reserve, Fiordland National Park, New ZealandForest at Lake Gunn Nature Reserve, Milford Road, New Zealand

Lake Gunn

One of several small lakes on the road between Te Anau and Milford Sound, Lake Gunn is one of many scenic spots in the area. It’s surrounded by forested hills and is often completely flat, allowing for some awesome reflections. We visited Lake Gunn at sunset — there weren’t too many colours in the sky but it was a great time to visit as everything was so calm and quiet. I imagine it would be a nice place to swim in the summer, but we were there in June and it was freezing!

Lake Gunn, a great place to stop when driving to Milford Sound, New ZealandThe Lake Gunn Nature Reserve walk, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

Getting to Lake Gunn Nature Reserve

Lake Gunn Nature Walk is located 78 km along Milford Sound Road. The track starts right next to the Cascade Creek DOC Campsite, the closest DOC camp to Milford Sound. It costs $13 per person and you can sleep in a tent or any vehicle. It’s not great value as there are no amenities outside of a toilet (not even running water). You can camp at Milford Sound Lodge instead — it costs $27 per person but it features hot showers, a kitchen and a warm dining room / sitting area. It’s only a few minutes drive from Milford Sound and it’s worth spending a little extra to stay there (we stayed one night at Cascade Creek and one at Milford Sound Lodge).

There are lots of other places to stop when driving to Milford Sound — check out our posts about the Mirror Lakes, Key Summit, the Chasm and Lake Marian.

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who has just returned home after 6 years abroad. Join me as I see as much of the South Island as I can.

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