Fiordland is a geographic region of New Zealand that is situated on the south-western corner of the South Island, comprising the western-most third of Southland. Most of Fiordland is dominated by the steep sides of the snow-capped Southern Alps, deep lakes and its ocean-flooded, steep western valleys. Indeed, the name "Fiordland" comes from a variant spelling of the Scandinavian word for this type of steep valley, "fjord".
Fiordland features a number of fiords (often named sounds), of which Milford Sound is the most famous, though Doubtful Sound is even larger and has more, and longer, branches (but is also less accessible).
A fiord is defined as a u-shaped glacier-carved valley which has been flooded by the sea. The fourteen fiords that fringe this south-west corner of the South Island were 100,000 years in the making, with the final details added during the most recent ice age just 10,000 years ago. The Maori attributed the creation of the fiords to a giant stonemason called Tute Rakiwhanoa, who hued out the steep sided valleys with his adzes.
On all sides of the fiords, spectacular waterfalls tumble incessantly as the region's plentiful rainfall finds its way to the sea.
Described by Rudyard Kipling as the "Eighth Wonder of the World", Milford Sound is always spectacular - daily scenic flights and cruises reveal its beauty to visitors.
In 1990 Fiordland was listed as a United Nations World Heritage site and given the name Te Wahipounamu – “kThe Place of Greenstone”, after the area's most treasured mineral resource.
Category:Travel and Places
Subcategory:Australia and Oceania
Subcategory Detail:New Zealand