Fiordland National Park
Fiordland is a national park in New Zealand. With an area of 12,500 km, 2 is the largest in the country. Fiordland National Park was founded in 1952. The park is bordered on the western border by the fjords of the Tasman Sea, and on the eastern side by lakes. The lakes in Fiordland are some of the deepest in New Zealand, and the mountains are up to 2746 meters high.
Together with Mount Cook, Westland and Mount Aspiring National Parks, Fiordland forms the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area. The park contains some of the oldest natural complexes on the planet. The nature of these consists of alpine valleys and subtropical forests, which sharply distinguishes the park from the rest of the island. Previously, this area was covered with glaciers, which formed fjords and gorges.
Tourists who arrive here are struck by the lack of human activity. It’s as if these places have never even been visited. It is difficult to find a suitable place to live here. In addition, the proximity of glaciers to evergreen forests is surprising.
The lakes of Fiordland National Park deserve a separate article, because they have a rich history. One of the deepest and longest of them is Waikatipu. Its length is more than 100 km, and its depth reaches 400 meters. 25 rivers without names carry their water to it; they are simply numbered on the map. Because of its peculiarity, the lake is sometimes called the “heart of the South Island”. The water in the lake rises by 7 cm approximately every 5 minutes and almost immediately returns to its previous position. A reasonable explanation has not yet been given for such a phenomenon. But local residents have an explanation for this - the giant’s heart beats there.
According to an ancient Maori legend, the daughter of Chief Manata once lived here, who fell in love with the hunter Matakauri. One day a mighty giant attacked their tribe and took the girl captive. then he called all the warriors and ordered them to save Manata, and he promised to give her to the one who saves her as a wife. Everyone except Matakauri was afraid of the giant and he had to go alone to the monster to his death. Having risen high into the mountains, the hunter found the leader's daughter tied to a tree, and a giant was sleeping nearby. The young man took the girl to the tribe, and he himself returned to the mountains, since the giant must be killed, otherwise he will take revenge. While the giant was sleeping, ahead of the mountains, Matakauri covered him with brushwood for several days. He set fire to the brushwood and the flames engulfed the giant, the sun was clouded with smoke, and the heat was so strong that it burned the ground, forming a huge depression. Over time, rainfall and the waters of mountain rivers filled the hole, which was later called Lake Waikatipu. But what was left of the giant was a mighty heart, lying deep under the water, and with each blow the water in the lake rises and immediately falls.
Flora and fauna of Fiordland Park
Fiordland National Park is home to unique birds - rare kakapo parrots that live underground, feeding on worms and snails. Also living here is a predatory parrot, the kea, which can cut the carcass of a dead sheep down to its skeleton. They were almost completely exterminated by farmers, because they believed that kea sat on the backs of sheep and tore them apart alive. Previously, there were no ships with freezers, so the wool was sent to the UK, but the cape was thrown away, and the winged “orderlies” ate it. According to zoologists, kea does not attack living sheep.
The South Island was once called "the habitat of the takahe". Tatahe is a bird the size of a goose and unable to fly. It is distinguished by its bright and lush plumage, powerful legs and a short, thick red beak. With the arrival of Europeans it was exterminated. But in 1948, near Lake Te Anau, amateur naturalist Orbell found a bird that was previously considered extinct. This became one of the largest ornithological discoveries of the 20th century.
In addition to these rare birds, other birds can be found in Fiordland National Park: kiwi, rock wrens, clubbills, New Zealand ducks, wekarallas, yellow crows, and many species of parrots. There are many types of food available for them, including 3,000 varieties of insects. Of these, 10% can be found exclusively in the national park. Deer, couscous, rats, and elk, brought by Europeans, were able to adapt here. In the waters of the fjords you can meet seals, sponges, mollusks, albatrosses, petrels, penguins, including the rare New Zealand crested penguin.
The Fiordland mountain ranges are considered to be some of the wettest areas in the world. It rains here almost 200 days a year, which falls uniformly throughout the year. Because of which, in the fjords there is always a layer of fresh water of 40 meters. The average temperature in July is 5°C, and in January - 23°C.