"If there is one place on earth reserved for Adventure Racing I believe that place is Fiordland, it is the frontier, a bastion of wilderness, 100% unadulterated adventure. It is intensely majestically scenic. It’s a place where the true adventurers play, and others are humbled. Every year GODZone was announced since it began I hoped with earnest it’d be Fiordland. Chapter 7 delivers in what will be the mother of all GODZone’s, the purest. Teams will be required to look after themselves, their individual needs and the needs of their team, pay close attention to the weather and even closer attention to the map, daylight will be worth gold, only a few teams will manage to achieve all these things and start to think about the race."
Te Anau and Manapouri are the gateways to Fiordland National Park, 1.2 million hectares of dramatic and awe-inspiring forested mountains, fiords, coastline, rivers and lakes in the south west of the south island of New Zealand, featured in both Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. It is part of Te Wahipounamu, a World Heritage Area, and was given this important United Nations status for its outstanding natural features. You can visit the UNESCO web page for more information about Fiordland and get more information from the official Fiordland Visitor Guide.
Fiordland National Park is the largest national park in New Zealand and is world famous for its much-visited fiords at Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound and its Great Walk tracks in the Milford, Routeburn and Kepler regions. It is also world famous for its indigenous birds, including the exceptionally rare takahe, and its incredible southern beech and podocarp forests, with some trees more than 800 years old. But Fiordland National Park is so much more. Whether you love tramping, kayaking, hunting, fishing, mountain running, or enjoying our amazing wilderness by boat, plane or helicopter or just by sitting and gazing at the wonderful views from a lake-front bench, this is a full-on natural paradise that suits everyone’s needs.
Fiordland is of course world famous for its deep and dramatic fiords. Viewed from above, the whole region looks fragmented by multiple fingers of ocean piercing the land, to the extent that it looks as though Fiordland is about to break away from the mainland into hundreds of islands, each with towering mountains.
The Fiordland Marine Area stretches from Awarua Point in the north to the eastern bank of the Waiau River in the south. The area totals 928,000 hectares and extends 22 kilometres into the Tasman Sea and includes the waters of the 14 fiords (called sounds) and 10 marine reserves.
Gaze out your window in Te Anau and Manapouri and you will see soaring, glacially-carved peaks. The highest peaks of Fiordland reach more than 2,000 metres. Fiordland is a mecca for mountain climbers. Flanked in native beech trees and ancient podocarp forest, there are many trails around the foot hills that can be walked by anyone. Te Anau is opposite the Kepler and Murchison Mountains, with an arm of Lake Te Anau weaving like a finger between the two. The Kepler Mountains are home to the world famous Kepler Track. The Murchison Mountains, slightly further north than the Kepler Mountains, are home to the takahe, an incredibly rare bird, subject to instense conservation efforts. The mountains further south opposite Manapouri are the Hunter Mountains, famous for their soaring peak Mount Titiroa, (1,715m), a mountain that looks like it’s got snow on it all year round – in reality it is covered in beach-like sand and towering white granite boulders. Turning north from Te Anau, there are panaoramic mountain views on both sides as you travel up the Milford Road into the National Park in the direction of Milford Sound, through the Eglinton Valley. There is the Livingstone Range on the right, and the Earl Range on the left, changing to the Ailsa mountains on the right above the Routeburn Track. Once past the Homer Tunnel and on the descent to Milford Sound, the Darran Mountains are the range on the right, and the Wick Mountains are the range on your left.
Many of Fiordland’s mountains are so remote they have no name. But there’s one mountain perhaps more famous than the rest and among the most photographed in the world; Mitre Peak, which rises majestically out of Milford Sound. It’s a straightforward but very exposed two-day climb; not for beginners. Access is via a boat ride across Milford Sound.
Host Resort – Te Anau
Welcome to nature, peace and paradise. Just two hours drive from Queenstown airport, the beautiful little town of Te Anau and the neighbouring village of Manapouri are at the heart of Fiordland, New Zealand’s largest national park with world heritage status. Te Anau and Manapouri are where you base yourself if visiting Fiordland, and this is where Fiordlanders live. Te Anau is the ‘Gateway to Fiordland’ being the closest town to Milford Sound. The proximity of 3 of New Zealand’s 9 Great Walks places Te Anau firmly on the map as ‘The Walking Capital of the World’. Fiordland is home to The Milford Track, Kepler Track and Routeburn Track.
Te Anau and Manapouri are the only towns next to the national park. Both Te Anau and Manapouri are built on the shores of massive, pristine lakes (Lake Te Anau and Lake Manapouri) that are part of the national park. From Te Anau town centre you can walk around the lake front and on to the famous Kepler track. Beautiful Lake Te Anau is the largest volume of fresh water in Australasia, with stunning views of the Kepler and Murchison Mountains, three inland fiords stretching like fingers to the west of the town, and beautiful beaches and lake front walks. Manapouri, situated on the shores of Lake Manapouri (connected to Lake Te Anau by the Waiau River) is also a stunning location. Lake Manapouri is described as the most beautiful lake in New Zealand, with its beaches, islands, and jaw-dropping views of the iconic Mount Titiroa at 1,715m. Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri and rivers flowing in and out of them give access to some of the best trout fishing in the world, and endless boat cruise, kayaking and sailing opportunities.
A wide range of accommodation offers over 4,000 beds to weary travellers. Lodge, hotel, motel and boutique accommodation provide a restful break in comfort and style, while home and farm stays provide a genuine Kiwi experience. A range of holiday parks, backpacker and budget options ensure that everyone can find accommodation to suit their needs. Visitors are advised to book in advance during the summer months (particularly in February) as accommodation is in high demand.
Local cafés and restaurants provide a variety of dining options, from fish and chips to fine dining, and the opportunity to sample local Fiordland fare of venison, lobster and other seafood. Te Anau offers seven day a week shopping facilities with competitively priced goods, including high quality apparel, gift and souvenir shops. A full range of services exists within the town including ATM facilities, two major banks, service stations (offering fuel and workshop facilities), rental cars, medical centre and dentist.
In this land the air is clear and climate invigorating, the weather can be mild, it is often relentless, and the results are frequently startling and memorable.
Waterfalls pour out of the sky, voluminous skirts enveloping the surrounding forest in misty shrouds. Forest floors swell closely wrapped in a quilt of moss and ferns; streams tingle and the smell of leaf litter fills the air. Fiordland’s weather is what gives the region its unique character. Water is what makes Fiordland a verdant land with lakes, rivers, streams, cataracts, waterfalls and fiords. Visitors should always be prepared to enjoy some rainfall during their stay. It is recommended to bring sensible clothing for cool and wet weather to fully appreciate your stay.
The area of Fiordland transects a steep gradient from the open ocean and coastal environments to high mountain peaks and sheltered valleys. This rugged terrain can cause weather effects to be quite localised with the mountains sheltering inland areas from showers. The rainfall varies significantly from areas immediately at the coastline to mountain passes, meaning that Milford Sound can experience above average rainfall whilst Te Anau is below average.
Fiordland weather is highly changeable, so your pre race preparation should factor in all conditions. Cold temperatures, snow, strong winds and heavy rain can occur at any time of the year. It can be very sunny and warm too!
What Fiordland Offers
World Class Scenery
UNESCO recognised environment of outstanding natural beauty