From the deep glacial waters of the Milford and Doubtful Sounds to those of the fast flowing of the Waiaru River, we sailed, flew, hiked and quad biked our way through this unfettered wilderness.
A World Heritage Site Rudyard Kipling described the region as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’, and when I took a scenic flight over the vibrant and ever changing terrain which borders the Doubtful Sound it became all to evident why.
An isolated wilderness it plays host to a number of endemic examples of flora.
Heavily forested for the most part other than where vast sheets of rock prevent the growth of vegetation, human interference has been so minimal that the landscape is almost entirely untouched. Just 2 communities of less than 2000 people have made their home within the region.
While much of the National Park is inaccessible there is more than enough to see if you just open your eyes
[divider]FLORA & FAUNA[/divider]
A New Zealand Falcon
New Zealand Fur Seals
Waterfalls in Full Flow
Mother Nature is present everywhere you look.
Marine life thrives in the fiords and the deep waters are home to bottlenose dolphins, New Zealand fur seals, Fiordland crested and little blue penguins, and visiting whales.
During our adventures on the Waiaru River we spotted a fine example of one of the country’s endemic birds of prey.
Known to become incredibly aggressive when protecting it’s territory we were fortunate to witness this bird simply taking in its surroundings from a perch high above the river.
From the glacial melt which runs across the valley floor to the snow capped peaks which loom large and obstruct the horizon, diversity is visible in every view.
We were fortunate enough to drive the road to the Milford Sound just after a heavy rain and witnessed torrents of water streaming down from the glaciers above.
[divider] TAKING FLIGHT [/divider]
While Fiordland is an impressive sight from ground level the beauty is only magnified from the air.
The azure tones of the deep glacial water and the earthy hue of the towering masses of rock blend into a poetic patchwork of colour.
During our stay we were lucky enough to take to the skies in a light aircraft in perfect weather conditions.
Our aerial existence lasted for what seemed like only moments as we flew over the summits of mountain peaks and the royal blue hue of the sounds.
I fear all future scenic flights will be a disappointment having looked down on the mesmerising landscape of the Fiords.
Carved by the nephew of Aoraki, Tūterakiwhanoa the sounds do appear as though sculpted by hand.
While Māori legends serve only to heighten my desire to uncover the mystery of this vast wilderness, the images I captured both on film and in my mind will remain with me for years to come.
There’s just nothing like standing atop a remote peak, camera in hand.
Fiordland is a photographer’s dream.
[divider] SIGHTS & SOUNDS [/divider]
There are a few locations which have become synonymous with this pocket of New Zealand’s south.
These shots of the Milford Sound instantly evokes memories of the glacial landscapes to those who’ve visited the National Park.