There are 14 sounds making up Fiordland, with most only accessible by sea. The Fiordland National Park was established in 1904 to protect the land encompassing 1.2 million hectares. It has World Heritage Status.
Piopiotahi (Milford Sound) Marine Reserve
– Established in 1993 the reserve covers 690ha. This is a unique environment where a layer of freshwater sits on top of salt water, allowing deep water species, such as black coral, to live in shallow water.
Te Awaatu (The Gut) Marine Reserve
– Also established in 1993 the reserve covers 93ha in Doubtful Sound. It contains the highest diversity of species known in the fiord, some of them rare. The outer fiord, with steep rock walls, is dominated by deep water invertebrates.