see + do
Concierge.com's insider take:
The aptly named (albeit oddly spelled) Fiordland, on the South Island's southwest coast, will look familiar to anyone who's seen Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Many of the movies' scenes were shot in this region of jagged snow-streaked mountains descending to deep, still waterways, but even the big screen doesn't do the scenery justice. This is national parkland, and wild country—meaning no roads—so the best way to explore the landscape is, ironically, by sea. Real Journeys runs all-day and overnight trips into stunning Doubtful Sound, where peaks plunge into dark, dolphin-filled seas; the trips leave from both Queenstown and the town of Te Anau, 109 miles to the southwest. Passengers explore the Sound and the surrounding mountains by both bus and luxury catamaran cruiser; it's a long trip but well worth the journey. Prices start at $220 per person (64-3-249-7416; www.realjourneys.co.nz).