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The Maori were the first to attribute the creation of fiords to a ‘titanic mason’. According to legend Tu-te-raki-whanoa carved out the fiords with his adze Te Hamo. He started in the far south where he created a rough coastline with many islands. By the time he reached Milford Sound he had perfected his technique and carved an awe-inspiring fiord. Piopiotahi (Milford Sound) was his greatest achievement. The goddess of the underworld, Hine-nui-te-po, came to see the handiwork of Tu and was so alarmed at the beauty of Piopiotahi, that she worried that once people had seen the fiord they would not want to leave its beauty. To encourage humans to not dwell too long she released the sandfly into Milford Sound!

Milford Sound is the most famous and accessible of the grand glacier carved fiords scattered along New Zealand's south western coast. Mountain peaks with sculptural, hanging valleys, send waterfalls cascading over sheer granite cliffs to the sea below.

Boat trips on the Sound are a must and provide close up views of awe-inspiring scenery. These cruises are often accompanied by playful dolphins, and seals basking on rocks are a common sight.

The Fiord is approximately 16km from the ‘head’ to the open sea, which means visitors can comfortably travel the length of the fiord to the Tasman Sea and return in only 1½ to 2 hours. There are many cruise options available for this.

Milford Sound is also becoming increasingly popular for adventure on the water such as kayaking and diving. Kayaking is an experience in the sounds that is unforgettable; most people kayak very early in the morning or late afternoon. There is an opportunity to dive in an incredible marine environment. Dive to see Black and Red corals living in depths of less than 20 metres. There are a multitude of other marine animals to be seen in relatively warm clear waters of the Fiords.

Information Centres:
  • Fiordland i-SITE Visitor Centre
  • Real Journeys Visitor Centre
  • Adventure Fiordland
  • Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre

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