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The Wilderness 100: The 8 best trips Fiordland National Park

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May 2020 Issue

Looking for a new challenge this year (or for the remainder of your life)? How about ticking off the Wilderness 100?


Welcome to the inaugural Wilderness 100 – an annual list of the best trips in the country. For the website version of this feature story, we’ve broken the trips down into regions and linked to those trips we’ve got route notes and maps for. 

So, without further ado, here are the best trips in Fiordland National Park.

1. Lake Marian Track, Fiordland National Park

While most drive right pass in their rush to reach Piopiotahi/Milford Sound, those in the know pull over and grunt through a steep and muddy ascent to reach the glacial beauty of Lake Marian. Backed by the Darran Mountains, the reflective lake is a short walk not to be missed. DOWNLOAD

Spectacular South Coast views on the Hump Ridge Track. Photo: Sam Reindler

2. Hump Ridge Track, Fiordland National Park

A marriage of rugged southern coastlines and magnificent tops, the Hump Ridge Track is the latest route to graduate into DOC’s esteemed Great Walk club. Historic viaducts, limestone tors and lengths of curving graceful boardwalk are highlights of this 61km loop.

3. Hollyford Track, Fiordland National Park

Beginning in the Hollyford Valley, near SH94, this tramping classic winds its way through a rivered valley all the way to the Tasman Sea. While many classic tracks of the south close over winter, it’s possible to enjoy the Hollyford year-round, as there are no alpine sections.

On a wintery Kepler Track. Photo: David Ruddock

4. Kepler Track, Fiordland National Park

This treasure of Te Anau is a strong contender for the most spectacular Great Walk, owing to its diversity of dramatic landscapes. Trampers can enjoy riverside wandering, gorgeous lakes, sweeping tops, and cave exploration – and that’s just day one. DOWNLOAD

5. Gertrude Saddle, Fiordland National Park

Gertrude Saddle, situated in the heart of Fiordland’s highest mountains, looks down the canyon-like Cleddau Valley towards Milford Sound and Mitre Peak – a dramatic merging of mountains and sea. Reaching the saddle involves a demanding tramp with steep scrambling, but the easy lower valley can be enjoyed by walkers of all abilities.

The Milford is known as the finest walk in the world for a reason. Photo: Gavin Yeates/Flickr

6. Milford Track, Fiordland National Park

Recent flood damage aside, the Milford Track is still the ’greatest walk in the world’. The 53km Milford is liberally endowed with some of the most spectacular natural sights of any track in the world – the Clinton Valley, MacKinnon Pass, the 580m Sutherland Falls and more. DOWNLOAD

7. Dusky Track, Fiordland National Park

This 84km behemoth through southern Fiordland is for the brave or foolhardy. With eight to 10 days of boot-stealing mud, sanity-testing sandflies and multiple river crossings, it’s a journey that will make or break trampers, and the memories – the good and the bad – will last a lifetime. DOWNLOAD

The peculiarly-coloured summit of Mt Titiroa. Photo: Tomas Sobek

8. Mt Titiroa, Fiordland National Park

A curious property of the local granite gives Titiroa a glistening white appearance, even when the mountain is snow-free. Tramp up to the bizarre granite tors of this highly distinctive summit from Lake Manapouri, or from the North Borland Valley. DOWNLOAD