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Gaze out your window in Te Anau and Manapouri and you will see soaring, glacially-carved peaks. The highest peaks of Fiordland reach more than 2,000 metres. Fiordland is a mecca for mountain climbers, but you don't have to be a mountaineer to enjoy them. Flanked in native beech trees and ancient podocarp forest, there are many trails around the foot hills that can be walked by anyone.
The Kepler and Murchison Mountains opposite Te Anau
Te Anau is opposite the Kepler and Murchison Mountains, with an arm of Lake Te Anau weaving like a finger between the two.
The Kepler Mountains are home to the world famous Kepler Track, a three or four day "great walk" on a well groomed Department of Conservation track that wends its way up and along an awesome mountain range deep into Fiordland, through native forest and stunning mountain ranges. But you don't have to walk the whole thing. There is a car park at the south end of Lake Te Anau, from which you can access the start of the track for day walks. Or be adventurous like Bear Grylls and explore the the native forest on a half day or whole day guided off-track adventure.
The Murchison Mountains, slightly further north than the Kepler Mountains, are home to the takahe, an incredibly rare bird, subject to instense conservation efforts. These mountains are out of bounds to members of the public for this reason. However, you can experience the base of these amazing mountains by taking a boat cruise on Lake Te Anau.
The Hunter Mountains of Manapouri
The mountains further south opposite Manapouri are the Hunter Mountains, famous for their soaring peak Mount Titiroa, (1,715m), a mountain that looks like it's got snow on it all year round. It hasn't; it's flanks are covered in beach-like sand and towering white granite boulders. This incredible geological marvel is a mecca for adventurous trampers on off-track expeditions.
The mountains either side of the road to Milford Sound
Turning north from Te Anau, there are panaoramic mountain views on both sides as you travel up the Milford Road into the National Park in the direction of Milford Sound, through the Eglinton Valley. There is the Livingstone Range on the right, and the Earl Range on the left, changing to the Ailsa mountains on the right further up (above the Routeburn Track). Once you pass through the Homer Tunnel and begin your descent to Milford Sound, the Darran Mountains are the range on your right, and the Wick Mountains are the range on your left.
Many of Fiordland's mountains are so remote they have no name. But there's one mountain perhaps more famous than the rest and among the most photographed in the world; Mitre Peak, which rises majestically out of Milford Sound. It's a straightforward but very exposed two-day climb, with a real risk of falling; not for beginners. Access is via a boat ride across Milford Sound.
Experience the mountains
The easiest way to get into the mountains is to walk on one of Fiordland's Great Walk tracks; the Milford, Routeburn and Kepler. Visit our tracks page for more information on these tracks and other trails. However, for an even wilder experience you can hire a wilderness guide to take you off track on to peaks not reached by track walkers. Visit our Off-track Expeditions page.
Fiordland's mountains are a draw to experienced climbers from all over the world. For the rest of us, without suitable qualified guides, they are dangerous places due to changeable weather conditions. If you do not have bush or mountain experience in terrains like those in Fiordland you are advised to stick to the main trails or find a safety-checked mountain expedition guide.