Fiordland National Park

Lake Manapouri, Fiordland National Park
Great South
Lake Manapouri, Fiordland National Park

A vast expanse of Fiordland was made a scenic reserve in 1904 and then a national park in 1952. Later editions of Hollyford Valley in the 1960s and the Waitutu forest in 1998 brought the total land area of Fiordland National Park to 12,600 square kilometres – the largest national park in New Zealand and one of the largest in the world.

Challenging weather, difficult and often steep terrain, and dense vegetation, means the interior of Fiordland is largely inaccessible. As a result, the region was never subjected to notable logging operations by early Europeans, and even attempts at whaling, seal hunting, and mining were on a small scale and short-lived. This lack of human interference means Fiordland National Park contains the greatest extent of unmodified vegetation in New Zealand, creating a haven for significant populations of endemic plants and threatened animals - in some cases the only remaining wild populations of native species in New Zealand.