Southland
Hiking

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Our most recommended Southland Hiking

Milford Sound Coach, Cruise, and Walk from Te Anau

1. Milford Sound Coach, Cruise, and Walk from Te Anau

Enjoy a leisurely small-group day excursion to Milford Sound from Te Anau, with an extended nature cruise along the full length of the fiord. Your tour includes all the best scenic stops, including short walks. From Te Anau, travel along the spectacular Milford Road with local, experienced nature guides who are eager to share their stories, knowledge, and passion for the area. Upon reaching Milford Sound, you will join a nature cruise traveling out to the Tasman Sea. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to view waterfalls, rainforest, mountains, and wildlife. On completion of the cruise, passengers will board a small coach and begin their journey overland. If you prefer shorter walks, stay with the nature guide and enjoy a series of walks in a range of different environments within the National Park. Enjoy access to the Hollyford Valley, Lake Gunn, and the Marian Gantry. Experience the powerful, tumbling waters, step into the ancient native forest and witness this World Heritage area and its untamed wilderness at its best. Finally, enjoy short walks and scenic stops on a 2-hour nature cruise on Milford Sound before returning to Te Anau.

From Queenstown: Milford Sound Return Flights, Hike & Cruise

2. From Queenstown: Milford Sound Return Flights, Hike & Cruise

Fly from Queenstown airport over the Wakatipu Basin and into Fiordland, sweeping the length of Milford Sound where you can take in unparalleled views of world famous fiord. Upon landing in Milford Sound, take a short boat ride to where your walk on the Milford Track begins. The three and a half hour guided walk takes you along a well formed track to the half way point, Giant Gate waterfall. After your walk, transfer back to the boat terminal where you’ll board a Mitre Peak Cruise through Milford Sound. Enjoy a picnic-style lunch while an informative guide points out scenic highlights along the way, such as the Bowen Falls, snow-capped Mount Pembroke, and the awe-inspiring Mitre Peak itself, towering 1692 metres from the ocean floor. Fly back over the Milford Track before having your breath taken away when you first view the 548 metre Sutherland Falls. This scenic flight will allow you to take in magnificent views of the mountains, glaciers, lakes and forests of the Fiordland National Park on your way back to Queenstown.

Lake Te Anau: 3-Hour Scenic Cruise and Walk with Morning Tea

3. Lake Te Anau: 3-Hour Scenic Cruise and Walk with Morning Tea

Begin your tour at the historic wharf of Lake Te Anau, where you'll be greeted by your crew and welcomed aboard. After a safety briefing and check-in, you'll be free to explore the ship. Enjoy some light refreshments on the scenic 40-minute journey to the Hidden Lakes wharf.   Upon arrival, leave the ship for a guided 45-minute walk through the Fiordland National Park. Learn about the surrounding flora and fauna from your guide. Once back at the ship, enjoy a delicious morning tea with a selection of canapes and desserts in the peaceful cove. Then sit back, relax and enjoy the journey back to Lake Te Anau.

From Te Anau: Full Day Kepler Track Guided Heli-Hike

4. From Te Anau: Full Day Kepler Track Guided Heli-Hike

On this enjoyable full-day tour from Te Anau you will enjoy a scenic helicopter flight over New Zealand’s beautiful landscape, an easy-going hike on the Kepler Track, and a relaxing boat cruise on Lake Te Anau. You will begin your Kepler Track guided heli-hike with a spectacular scenic flight by helicopter from the town of Te Anau. Fly over the hidden lakes and beech forest of Mount Luxmore to arrive at Luxmore Hut, the first hut on the Kepler Track Great Walk. With your knowledgeable local nature guide, you will explore the alpine area and learn about the fauna and flora in the surrounding tussock herb fields. Enjoy a true wilderness tea break, before you begin the descent on a well-formed track. Descending through magnificent mountain and silver beech forest, the effects of different altitude and weather conditions experienced in Fiordland are clear to see as the trees and undergrowth quickly change, creating a varied backdrop for your hike. At the half-way point you will pass under magnificent towering limestone bluffs, allowing the guide to share the geology of Fiordland with dramatic visual examples. The approach to Lake Te Anau is evident by the track meandering through native New Zealand ferns and other sub-tropical species. Your guide will share local conservation efforts on the Kepler Track, in which they take an active part in maintaining. You will finish the hike at the sandy beach of Brod Bay, the pick-up point for the boat cruise back to Te Anau. The boat ride offers an enjoyable way to complete this amazing and beautiful guided walk on the Kepler Track, offering great views of your path from the alpine area to the clear waters of Lake Te Anau.

Milford Sound: Milford Track Day Hike

5. Milford Sound: Milford Track Day Hike

Hike the world-famous Milford Track and enjoy flat, easy-going terrain and amazing bush, mountain, and waterfall scenery. See the mighty beech and rimu trees and the crowds of birds feeding on nectar at Fuschia trees. Listen to the sound of birdsong as you wander along the trail. Spot the resident grey warblers, fantails, tui, bellbirds, and more. Visit Giants Gate Falls, one of the highlights of the Milford Track. Take in the spectacular views at your own pace and enjoy a family-friendly adventure in Milford Sound.

Milford Sound: Full Day Guided Hike and Scenic Cruise

6. Milford Sound: Full Day Guided Hike and Scenic Cruise

Your full-day Milford Sound package begins with a morning walk along the Milford Track. A short boat ride will take you across Milford Sound’s Deep Water Basin to Sandfly Point for the start of a guided hike. The walk will take you alongside the cascading Arthur River and then on to Lake Ada. Stop at Giant's Gate Waterfall, a stunning and much-photographed site that is best viewed from the large swing bridge. In the afternoon you’ll enjoy the awe-inspiring scenery of the Milford Sound from the comfort of a modern, spacious boat. With outstanding viewing opportunities, you’ll take in the geological drama of sheer cliffs, massive waterfalls and more. Be on the lookout for wildlife, such as seals basking on the rocks or dolphins playing near the boat.

Te Anau: Kepler Water Taxi Transfer across Lake Te Anau

7. Te Anau: Kepler Water Taxi Transfer across Lake Te Anau

Travel across Lake Te Anau on the Kepler Water Taxi to reach the world-famous Kepler Track for a day walk. Meet the water taxi on the lakefront and head across to Brod Bay to explore the stunning Fiordland National Park at your own pace. Best of all, the trip is just a short 15 minutes. Sit back and relax during your comfortable transfer across the lake and marvel at the stunning natural surroundings. Once on the other side, explore the Kepler Track in a number of ways — there's something for everyone. If you're looking for a challenge, set your sights on Mount Luxmore. The summit can be reached in a day with a water taxi transfer across the lake, and is well worth it for the astounding views over Lake Te Anau and Fiordland. Alternatively, choose a more relaxing option by enjoying a gentle 10-kilometer walk from the same staring point, and walk your way around the bay back to Te Anau.

Milford Sound: Half-Day Guided Milford Track Walk

8. Milford Sound: Half-Day Guided Milford Track Walk

Spend some time in nature in the beautiful Fiordland National Park on a half-day guided walk to Giants Gate on the world famous Milford Track. Departing Milford Sound Wharf, the walk begins with a short boat ride to Sandfly Point. It is then an easy 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometers) alongside the cascading Arthur River, then Lake Ada, on a well-maintained track. Your destination is the Giants Gate. This scenic waterfall is best viewed from the large swing bridge spanning the river. On your return, you will be walking under ancient temperate rainforest surrounded by an array of ferns, mosses and lichens in vibrant shades of green. The small group of 12 walkers per guide provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the fascinating human heritage of the track. On completion of the walk, take the opportunity to take photos at the sign marking the end of the track, a site festooned with the boots of walkers who have made it to the end of the walk, not a single step further. Then rejoin the boat for the transfer back to Milford Wharf.

Flight and Hike Trip: Milford Sound, Milford Track & Picnic

9. Flight and Hike Trip: Milford Sound, Milford Track & Picnic

Fly from Queenstown airport over Lake Wakatipu, taking in the grandeur of the Southern Alp as you fly deep into the heart of Fiordland National Park. Sweep the length of Milford Sound where you can take in unparalleled views of world famous Milford Sound and Mitre Peak before landing at Milford Sound airport. Upon landing you will meet your guide for the day and take a short boat ride to begin your walk on the Milford Track. You'll begin your 3.5-hour guided walk, meandering alongside the cascading Arthur River then Lake Ada, on a well-formed track. Your destination and half-way point is Giant Gate waterfall. After enjoying a delicious picnic lunch, return by boat transfer and board your plane for a scenic flight back over the Milford Track and Fiordland to Queenstown.

From Te Anau: Full Day Guided Walk Along the Routeburn Track

10. From Te Anau: Full Day Guided Walk Along the Routeburn Track

Enjoy a guided day excursion from Te Anau to Key Summit on the renowned Routeburn Track. Begin the journey with a spectacular scenic drive along the Milford Road to the Divide Shelter which is the starting point for the guided walk to Key Summit. There will be opportunities for photo stops along the way. Departing from the Divide, the walk ascends through lush, temperate rainforest on a well maintained track. The steady climb takes approximately 2 hours at a leisurely pace. Your guide will provide an excellent opportunity to learn about the natural and human heritage of Fiordland. Gaining an elevation of 400 metres, emerge from the forest into the alpine environment, with extensive panoramic views of high snowy peaks, alpine lakes, and deep bush clad valleys. Enjoy lunch along the way, perhaps on the Summit amidst the alpine tarns, or below in the Greenstone Valley beside lovely Lake Howden nestled in among the mountains.  Visit a nearby back country tramping hut.    After lunch steps are retraced to the Divide Shelter before returning to Te Anau with your guide.

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What people are saying about Southland

Overall rating

5.0 / 5

based on 181 reviews

Fabulous cruise, certainly helped by beautiful weather, and the scenery is simply stunning. The "Faith" is a beautiful old boat and the crew, George and Sam, are most hospitable and friendly, and totally passionate about the boat the the tour they offer. The walk to the Hidden Lake is beautiful and we were entertained by several black robins along the way. Just make sure you wear sturdy shoes. The most relaxing way to spend 3 hours in Te Anau, such good value. Thank you George and Adam, and to Adam for some beautiful bagpipe playing way out in the middle of the lake.

Had such a fun day with this whole experience. Got to see Milford in the rain on our hike which was guided really well. It was unfortunate the group we were with had to hurry off for another booking as it cut our hike really short and we couldn’t take our time. The cruise was amazing and we were fortunate enough to see the dolphins surf under our boat. Both the captain and the other Stewart were very knowledgeable. Would highly recommend this to everyone going down and experiencing Milford, otherwise you aren’t fully experiencing it!

We had a wonderful morning excursion on the beautiful Faith with George and skipper, Marie. They took us across the lake, we moored then went on a walk through the forest. George was very entertaining with his knowledge about the area. Had a great morning tea aboard and back to Te Anau using the sails. Such a worthwhile trip. Thanks

Thanks to George and Marie for a wonderful 2 hrs on the beautiful Faith. You guys were amazing . Great high tea and fantastic walk to the hidden lake with really informative info. Definitely one of our South Island highlights. Awesome to meet you. - Julie and Alix

Great family activity. Hosts were brilliant! Loved every minute!