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Te Wahipounamu South Island

Te Wahipounamu, New Zealand

Fiordland, New Zealand
Mitre Peak (Rahotu), Fiordland, New Zealand

Te Wahipounamu is one of the three places in New Zealand recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The other two are Tongariro National Park and the Subantarctic Islands.

Mount Cook/Aoraki
Aoraki (Mount Cook) is the tallest mountain in New Zealand


The Te Wahipounamu UNESCO listing includes several National Parks in the South Island: Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park, Mt. Aspiring, Fiordland, and Westland National Park.

The natural landscape here is one of beautiful forests, fiords, glaciers, lakes, mountains, rivers, valleys, and waterfalls. Again, walking trails crisscross the area allowing access to some of the most striking natural scenery in the country.

Te Wahipounamu is Maori for "the place of greenstone" and stretches 450 km along the western coastline of the South Island of New Zealand. It is the least populated part of New Zealand.

Mitre Peak and Milford Sound.

Milford Sound

Milford Sound (Piopiotahi) is just one beautiful highlight of the area. Mitre Peak (Rahotu) now rises 1692 metres above the clear water. It is in fact a fiord (carved by glaciers) rather than a sound (created by rivers) and is approximately 16 km long and about 1 lm wide.

In the peak season, Milford Sound draws an estimated one million visitors. They come to dive, kayak, and take cruises on the pristine water. Various companies offer tours for all these activities.

Stirling Falls, NZ.
Stirling Falls feature in the movie Wolverine

Stirling Falls

Stirling Falls is one of several spectacular waterfalls in Milford Sound. It rises to 151 metres in height which is higher than Niagara. It is the second-highest of the falls in the area after Lady Bowen Falls which stands at 162 metres.

Te Wahipounamu with Milford Sound and Mite Peak.


Milford Sound Lodge offers dorms as well as luxury chalets and a site for campervans. The Pio Pio Cafe is here, too.

Te Anau is the gateway to Fiordland. Places to stay here include several motels such as Birchwood Cottages or Anchorage Motel Apartments.

See a listing of accommodation in Te Anau.

Access - Getting There

There are luxury bus tours to Milford Sound from Queenstown that take around 5 to 6 hours. There are also buses from Te Anau which is closer.

There are buses to Te Anau from Dunedin (4 hours, 40 minutes), Invercargill (2 hours, 45 minutes), and Manapouri (30 minutes).

By hire car, the Milford Road (State Highway 94) runs 120 km from Te Anau to Milford Sound and is a superb, scenic drive.

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