The Southern Alps and Fiordland: Places to Explore

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Milford Sound

Fiordland National Park's most accessible and busiest attraction is Milford Sound; in some ways it's also the most dramatic. Hemmed in by walls of rock that rise straight and sheer from the waterline up thousands of feet, the 13-km-long (18-mile-long) fjord was carved by a succession of glaciers as they gouged a track to the sea. Its dominant feature is the 5,560-foot pinnacle of Mitre Peak, which is capped with snow for all but the warmest months of the year. Opposite the peak, Bowen Falls tumbles 520 feet before exploding into the fjord. You'll often see seals on rocks soaking up the sun and dolphins sometimes flirt with the boats. Milford Sound is also spectacularly wet: The average annual rainfall is around 20 feet, and it rains an average of 200 days a year. In addition to a raincoat you'll need insect repellent—the sand flies can be voracious.

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