When you think of Fiordland you think cruising, hiking, Piopiotahi Milford Sound, and experiences that will transport you into a land mostly untouched by humankind. To arrive at said land one must pass through the town of Te Anau, however, do not pass through in haste! Te Anau has more to offer than meets the eye and Autumn is a perfect season to visit this idyllic town nestled on the shores of New Zealand’s second-largest lake.
Date 08 Apr 2021
With a plethora of activities and experiences to be had right on your doorstep in Te Anau town, it’s the perfect place to base yourself for an extended weekend in this outdoor paradise. Think log fires, misty mornings, the spine-tingling sound of stags roaring on nearby deer farms and nursing warm coffees in gloved hands as you stroll beside the lake – perhaps even catch a glimpse of the elusive Aurora Australis. Let the wilderness nurture your soul as the seasons of nature and life change once more.
Best known as the gateway to Fiordland National Park, this picturesque lakeside town has plenty of activities and experiences to warrant a solid place on your New Zealand itinerary. From the hikes, bikes, kayaks, and scenic flights at your fingertips and the chance to treat yourself to a bit of luxury, you are guaranteed to fall in love with this idyllic town too. Discover where adventure and relaxation are found in equal measure.
Autumn continues to bring pleasant weather here in Fiordland even as daylight hours start to shorten. Although the native forest remains green, the exotic trees in the township start to change to vibrant colours. Late Autumn brings a crispness to early morning frosts and mother nature starts to come alive as temperatures drop.
From the air
This is a New Zealand must-do and we highly recommend saving your scenic flight adventure for one here in Fiordland National Park. Take to the skies by fixed-wing plane, helicopter or floatplane and witness the breath-taking beauty of Fiordland from above. Dreamy scenes of mountains, glaciers, and hidden fiords await. One can truly appreciate the sheer size of this 1.2-million-hectare land from the sky.
You can also appreciate the beauty of Fiordland from the sky with a visit to the Fiordland Cinema and Black Dog bar where Ata Whenua, Shadowland brings the Fiordland wilderness you would otherwise never see to the screen. Mysterious, evocative, and exhilarating are but a few words to describe this journey through the landscape from a plush armchair in a boutique cinema.
Lake Te Anau is 417m (1368ft) deep and is the South Islands largest lake and the second largest lake in New Zealand. Naturally, the best way to explore is by boat. The serenity of sailing across Lake Te Anau and into the South Fiord is amazing. Breathe in the crisp, cool air and discover hidden lakes and treasures. The Faith in Fiordland is a 19.7 metre wooden historic motor yacht built in 1935 in Scotland.
The serenity of sailing across Lake Te Anau and into the South Fiord is surprising. You breathe deeply the pristine air during a short, guided walk through an ancient forest where the aptly named Hidden Lakes reveal their secrets to you. The Faith served in WW2, hosted Sir Winston Churchill, has sailed all over the world, and now calls Lake Te Anau and Fiordland National Park her home. With no other boat like her in New Zealand, there is no better way to experience the tranquility of this famous UNESCO World Heritage area. Enjoy drinks and canapes as the sun dips behind the Fiordland mountains. A romantic, personalised experience awaits.
Te Anau on foot
Best known as the gateway to three of New Zealand’s Great Walks, Te Anau is often overlooked by those embarking on multiday hiking trips deep in the national park. However, you don’t have to walk far to find incredible views and walking trails right on the doorstep. Ivon Wilson Park is perfect for an afternoon stroll in the late Autumn sunshine. A peaceful, open 35-hectare arboretum with introduced and native trees and great views of the surrounding mountains. Take your time here and meander on the marked trails, enjoy the vibrant autumn colours leading you to the picturesque Lake Henry which is stocked with rainbow and brown trout as a children's fishery. A trip along the lakefront will extend this walk for you, rewarding you with the best views Te Anau has to offer.
For those looking for more of an active adventure, strap on your hiking boots and embark on the full day hike to Luxmore Summit. This is an excellent full day walk on the famous Kepler Track. Prepare for impressive views of Lakes Te Anau & Manapouri and the Murchison and Kepler mountains. From town, you have the option to water taxi across to Brod Bay or even heli to Luxmore Hut for a relaxed walk to the summit and back down to basecamp Te Anau.
Add a little luxury
With the change of seasons comes the opportunity to add a little luxury to your New Zealand itinerary. With Fiordland National Park right there, Lake Manapouri in view, and the Kepler track on your doorstep, you don’t need to question why Cabot Lodge is one of Southland's premium luxury lodge destinations. Situated on a 2000-acre sheep farm bordering the national park this lodge provides an experience like no other. Guests have the chance to participate in on-farm activities, experience individually crafted Fiordland itineraries, and sample the best in New Zealand wine and cuisine. With a daily cooked breakfast, evening drinks, and a set evening meal to showcase the fresh food with local ingredients with farm to plate cuisine, you a truly spoilt from the moment you arrive. A luxurious escape on the doorstep of town is right here.
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