Fiordland National Park makes up more than 1.2 million hectares of the South Island's south-west corner and is part of the Te Wahipounamu UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is the largest of the New Zealand's 14 national parks and features clear and expansive lakes and towering peaks carved out over millennia by giant glaciers.
The hiking in the park is legendary, with the Milford Track widely considered one of the world's greatest walks. Less known, but just as atmospheric is the Routeburn Track.
It is best to stick to the designated paths, partly to help preserve the unspoiled terrain but also because so much of the region is virtually impenetrable. The scenery is spectacular on all of these routes and if you're lucky you may spot a kiwi, as three species of the bird live among the fiords. So, too, do around 100 flightless takahe, one of New Zealand's rarest birds.
Very few people live here, so a visit provides the chance to experience a genuine wilderness area.
The tiny settlement of Te Anau, home to just 3,500 people on the eastern shores of Lake Te Anau, is the gateway to the surrounding Fiordland National Park.
Te Anau is quiet in the winter - the kind of place where the Sunday papers arrive on Monday - but bustles with hikers and sightseers in the summer.
Many come to explore the lake, which is the South Island's largest, stretching 61 kilometres from head to toe. For others, the town is their starting point on the Milford Road, a stunning 119-kilometre drive into the heart of Fiordland and Milford Sound.