Fiordland is located in the western side of the Southland region. It is a protected wilderness area that has national park status, and forms the major part of Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand, a World Heritage Site.
The landscape of Fiordland is typically mountainous with many lakes and waterfalls due to high rainfall. The mountain peaks receive snow during the year, and the run off from the snow and rain forms thousands of waterfall with some ranking as the world's tallest. Perhaps the most striking physical feature of Fiordland are the fiords (fjords) which are glacial carved mountain valleys that have been flooded by the sea. These fiords have attracted millions of visitors to see what is considered by many as New Zealand's most scenic area. Imagine sheer mountain cliffs rising up as high as one mile from the sea with hundreds of waterfalls side by side pounding into the sea below.
While the fiords are steep and high, they are also very deep. Due to the amount of fresh water pouring into the fiords, the fresh water floats on top of the salt water causing deep sea plants to grow closer to the surface. This provides a unique opportunity for divers to view them.
Behind the fiords are glacial carved mountains that are clothed in lush rainforest a their base and beech forest at higher altitudes. Above the beech forests are tussock grasses which eventually give way to sheer rock faces and snow.
Fiordland's landscapes are epic and have featured in a number of epic movies such as Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Jurassic Park.