Best known as the gateway to the magical Fiordland National Park, this picturesque lakeside town, Te Anau, has plenty of activities and experiences to warrant its spot on your New Zealand itinerary. Arguably regarded as one of the best hiking and adventure destinations not only in New Zealand but in the world, Te Anau has it all.
Below are five reasons why you should travel to Fiordland National Park this Summer.
To tackle a great walk
Te Anau is the walking capital of the world. Three of New Zealand’s Great Walks, The Milford, Routeburn, and Kepler tracks are right here on our doorstep. The tracks make their way through the 1.2 million hectares of untouched native forest. The hikes are multi day hikes but each has the option to sample as a day hike. The Great walks are great by name and great by nature. Expect stunning alpine vistas, waterfalls, untouched wilderness, and maybe a cheeky wildlife encounter during your adventure. Don’t be shy, stick around in Te Anau after your walk, and back to back the trails, one for the more adventurous folk out there.
Did you also know that Fiordland is about to gain a fourth Great Walk? Introducing The Hump Ridge Track in Tuatapere. This 3-day loop track takes hikers along the South Coast of New Zealand, up through the sub-alpine range of the Hump Ridge, and over historic viaducts in the heart of our native forest.
P.S, Keen hikers, you don’t just have to hike the great walks. If you are keen on shorter day hikes check out Key Summit, Lake Marian, Lake Mistletoe, Green Lake, and more.
To meet the locals
Yes, you will meet our people, they are the driving force behind our town and region, many of them owning and operating the activities you experience here. But you might also meet some of our local wildlife.
Cruising in Milford Sound? Keep an eye out for the pods of Dolphins who live there and like to ride the bow waves. Driving down the Milford Road? You might meet the world’s only Alpine Parrot, the Kea. Watch out, they are pretty mischievous. If you have time in Te Anau then why not visit Te Anau’s bird sanctuary boosting our local bird population through breeding and rehabilitation programs. Currently home to two Takahe, it’s well worth the visit. If you are super lucky while cruising the Fiords you might spot a Fiordland Crested Penguin. Standing at just 60cm tall and showing distinct yellow eye markings, these little guys can be found on the shores of our fiords.
To feast on local food
Te Anau may be a small town but we sure know how to cook up a good feed. There are plenty of great places to eat and drink here. We cater for all, from pub-style food to fine dining, Asian fusion, Italian, or a good old kiwi favourite, the pie. Venison and seafood are aplenty here in town with many eateries creating specials around the local catch. You could spend a few days working your way from plate to plate and we don’t blame you.
To cruise through one of the Fiords
Milford Sound is by far the most popular fiord to cruise in. With scenic cruise and flight options, day trips, and even an overnight boat, Milford Sound truly is a remarkable sight. However, don’t forget about the other fiords. Doubtful Sound, Breaksea, Dusky? All made accessible to you right from Te Anau. We are lucky to have some pretty awesome operators in these remote places ready to showcase their backyard and offerings to you. All you need to do is travel a little deeper and stay a little longer.
To stay in a world heritage site
Te Anau is surrounded by some of New Zealand's finest scenery. The Kepler and Murchison mountains watch over as you explore our town. With Milford Sound only a short two-hour drive away along one of the most scenic highways in the world, I'm afraid you will have to stay the night (or two, or three) You can opt for lodge style accommodation in the National park or on the outskirts. You will find quaint BnB's, hotels, and campgrounds scattered all around our town.
Te Anau has a lot to offer for those who aren’t afraid to embrace the wilderness and raw beauty here in Fiordland National Park. So, slow down, take some time to appreciate what Fiordland has here, and extend your stay in our spectacular corner of the world.
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