For over 50 years Real Journeys has been sharing the natural beauty and history of Fiordland National Park and Queenstown with visitors and more recently, Stewart Island.
View a map of our region
Fiordland National Park
Fiordland National Park located in South West New Zealand is the largest national park in New Zealand covering encompassing nearly 1.2 million hectares (3 million acres) and is one of the world’s wettest regions. As one of the world’s greatest wilderness areas Fiordland National Park is characterised by steep, jumbled topography, rugged coastline, dense rainforest and a challenging climate.
The exceptional beauty of this vast landscape has long been recognised with Fiordland National Parks creation in 1952 and being declared a World Heritage Area in 1986, joining other natural phenomenons the Grand Canyon and Great Barrier Reef. (World Heritage is a global concept where natural and cultural sites of world significance - places so special that protecting them is of concern to all people are identified.)
In 1990, Fiordland was linked with three other national parks, Mount Aspiring, Westland/Tai Poutini, and Aoraki/Mt Cook, to form an expanded World Heritage Area of South West New Zealand. It acquired the Maori name of Te Wahipounamu (the place of greenstone).
Much of Fiordland National Park is inaccessible by road, however, the Milford Road, considered to be one of the finest alpine drives in the world, provides access to spectacular Milford Sound. At the mountainous northern end of the national park and is renowned for Mitre Peak, Milford Sound is home to a number of marine mammals including bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and the Fiordland crested penguins. The image of mile high Mitre Peak soaring above its sheltered waters has been an icon of New Zealand’s wild and scenic character for the best part of a century.
Doubtful Sound lies at the geographic heart of Fiordland and is the second most accessible and visited fiord in Fiordland National Park. The cruise across Lake Manapouri and a coach trip over Wilmot Pass to Deep Cove to access the fiord represents a journey through a magnificent cross-section of wilderness. Three times longer than Milford Sound and ten times larger, Doubtful Sound is known not only for its breathtaking scenery, but also for its abundant wildlife - bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and penguins.
Te Anau, a 2.5-hour drive from Queenstown is located on the shores of Lake Te Anau (the largest lake in the South Island of New Zealand), and represents the gateway to Fiordland National Park. This attractive township has a full range of accommodation options, a variety of restaurants, retail outlets and other services.
Activities and Attractions
The best way to experience the vast and remote Fiordland National Park is by taking a day or overnight cruise on Milford or Doubtful Sounds with Real Journeys. Other highlights in Fiordland National Park include a variety of well established walking tracks (Milford, Kepler and Routeburn), and other outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, golf etc. Real Journeys offers the chance to experience part of the world famous Milford Track on a one day guided walk. You can also discover the underground world by the brilliant shimmer of a thousand glowworms during a visit to the Te Anau Glowworm Caves on the isolated western shores of Lake Te Anau.
Fiordland’s climate overall is cool temperate. The coldest months are May to August when the winter sun is at a low angle and frosts produce ice on sunless valley floors. November to February are the warmest months when temperatures can rise above 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit). In the fiords’ temperatures are moderated by the influence of the ocean. At all times of year and in all weather conditions Fiordland National Park is well worth a visit. Whatever the fiord’s mood, teeming with rain and thundering waterfalls or with sun glistening on the deep water, it will inspire you.
Queenstown, in the Central Otago region of New Zealand, nestles beside the sparkling waters of Lake Wakatipu and at the foot of the imposing Remarkables Range. The resort is readily accessible by road and air. It has an international airport with flights directly to and from Australia and other key destinations in New Zealand - Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
Queenstown Activities and Attractions
Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s most popular resorts offering visitors a vast array of attractions and activities all year round. These include action packed thrills, sporting activities, wine trails, galleries, museums, shopping, a variety of restaurants and bars to name a few. Queenstown is known for the regular sailing of the beautifully restored vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw (affectionately known as the "Lady of the Lake"), which takes passengers across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm. The TSS Earnslaw’s working roles have included cargo ship, livestock carrier, passenger transporter and pleasure steamer since her launch in 1912.
Queenstown has a range of accommodation options from backpackers and bed & breakfasts to apartments and five star hotels and luxury lodges.
Central Otago has a climate with four distinct seasons, however, being located in an alpine environment means the weather can be changeable.
|December - February is hot and dry and temperatures typically range between 19 and 29 Celsius (67-86 Fahrenheit)|
|March - May welcomes autumn where the landscape becomes a kaleidoscope of red and golden hues. Temperatures range from 15 and 25 Celsius (59-77 Fahrenheit)|
|June - August is winter when skiing and snow boarding become popular pursuits. Daytime temperatures range between 5 and 10 Celsius (41-50 Fahrenheit)|
|September - November is spring, a time for wild flowers, blossoms and new life. Temperatures range between 9 and 15 Celsius (48-59 Fahrenheit)|
Queenstown is definitely a resort for all seasons attracting visitors throughout the year.
Stewart Island, Rakiura National Park
Across Foveaux Strait from Bluff at the bottom of the South Island lies Stewart Island, one of New Zealand's largely undiscovered eco-adventure destinations. Easily accessed by ferry or aircraft, Stewart Island attracts nature lovers from around the world for one-day excursions or more leisurely stays.
With its network of stunning bays, inlets, golden sand beaches and bush clad mountains; Stewart Island combines a spectacular mix of inspiring landscapes. Vivid dawn and twilight hues give rise to the island’s Maori name, "Rakiura – land of the glowing skies."
Getting to Stewart Island - Oban Township
Stewart Island Experience runs regular ferry services with daily departures between Bluff and Oban (one hour crossing), on board our comfortable catamarans. There are coach and flight connections from Invercargill, Queenstown and Te Anau. Vehicle storage for self-driving visitors is available at our Bluff Visitor Terminal.
Activities and Attractions at Stewart Island
Activities and attractions at Stewart Island include a leisurely cruise to Paterson Inlet, taking a trip to Ulva Island Wildlife Sanctuary to view the many birds and flora, or simply exploring Oban and gaining an insight into the community, history and environment with a Village & Bays Tour. Guided Walks depart during the summer months and offer an insight into the island's nature and cultural history and environment.
As 85% of the island comprises the Rakiura National Park, it is an ideal place to see kiwi in their natural habitat. There are many eco-friendly activities available on and around Stewart Island - from viewing the wildlife, to walking, boating, fishing, diving, kayaking, or simply relaxing.
Stewart Island has a small range of accommodation options ranging from backpackers, camping ground and self-catering houses, to bed and breakfasts, motel units and luxury lodges.
Temperatures on Stewart Island are generally mild, but the weather can be unpredictable. This is mainly due to the island's location in the southern latitudes. However, it is not uncommon to experience four seasons in one day - so be prepared with warm waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear.