Fiordland is a geographic region of New Zealand that is situated on the south-western corner of the South Island. Most of it is covered by the Fiordland National Park, which has an area of 12,120 square kilometres, making it the largest national park in New Zealand and one of the larger parks in the world, containing many famous tramping tracks. Most of Fiordland is dominated by the Southern Alps and its ocean-flooded, steep western valleys. Situated within Fiordland are Browne Falls and Sutherland Falls, which rank among the tallest waterfalls in the world. Administration of the area was as "The County of Fiord" for part of the 20th century until it was absorbed into Wallace County. Since 1989 it forms part of Southland District, in turn part of the Southland Region.

The name "Fiordland" comes from the now-common variant of the Norwegian word "fjord". Fiordland features a number of fiords (often misnamed sounds), of which Milford Sound is the most famous, though Doubtful Sound is even larger and has more and longer branches (but is also more inaccessible).

Constituent fiords

From north to south:

*Milford Sound
*Bligh Sound
*George Sound
*Caswell Sound
*Charles Sound
*Nancy Sound
*Thompson Sound
*Doubtful Sound
*Dagg Sound
*Breaksea Sound
*Dusky Sound
*Chalky Inlet
*Preservation Inlet

Demographics / Economy

Fiordland has few human inhabitants and is the least-populated area of New Zealand's South Island (48 in 2001, virtually uninhabited), [ [ Population] (from the Fiordland Community Profile at Statistics New Zealand)] [Note that the census area cited here does not match other statistical areas such as that used for the employment numbers also given below, which uses a wider area.] with no cities and many areas almost inaccessible except by boat or air. The only settlements close by / in Fiordland (depending on definition) are Manapouri and Te Anau township, which has under 2,000 permanent habitants (though it boasts around 3,000 tourist beds).Fact|date=April 2008 The nearest cities are Queenstown and Invercargill but both are over 150 km away from Te Anau via Highway 94.

Blanket Bay Hotel may be the westernmost permanently inhabited locality of New Zealand, a fishermen's refueling and supply depot on a small island at the head of Doubtful Sound. [ [ Fiordland Groper] (from '' website. Accessed 2008-06-22.)] [ [ Blanket Bay Hotel on satellite photo] (from Wikimapia website. Accessed 2008-06-22.)] Fact|date=June 2008

Except for electricity generation (at the Manapouri Power Station) and some agriculture, tourism is the only other major economic factor of the region. Visitor spending in Fiordland was NZ$ 92 million in 2003, and 1,017 people were employed fulltime in the Fiordland tourism industry, with an additional 1,900 people considered to be employed in tourism industry support services. [ Milford Sound Transport - Issues and Options] (GHD Ltd for Venture Southland, 2005)] Most tourists head to the Milford Sound, though tramping in the more accessible eastern parts of the alps is also popular. Nonetheless, the remoteness of the region limits even tourism, and after relatively short visits to the major sites, most tourists tend to return to other areas, such as Queenstown or Invercargill.


External links

* [ Destination Fiordland] (regional tourism organisation)
* [ Fiordland ] (photographs from Fiordland on a private website)
* [ Fiordland Bottlenose Dolphins] (blog and information about conservation projects)

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