Te Anau Summer Kate Norris
What to do in Te Anau this Summer
Te Anau - credit Kate Norris

If you are heading to Fiordland National Park this summer and enjoy the active adventure lifestyle, the plethora of hikes, bikes, and activities at your fingertips will make you fall in love with Te Anau a little more.

Date 14 Dec 2020

Te Anau is the place to start, end, and soak up your adventure in Fiordland. Nestled on the shores of Lake Te Anau, our idyllic town provides more than just a stop-off on route to Fiordland. We have boat rides, day hikes on the Great Walk tracks, scenic flights, and more. No matter your budget you will find plenty of activities and experiences to warrant adding days to your Fiordland itinerary.

Below is are our ideal daytime experiences for you during your stay here. Feel free to cram them all into one day or spread them out for a leisurely few days in our home.

Te Anau Wharf - credit Anja Kohler

Culinary delights in Te Anau

Eating out in Te Anau is a varied and delightful experience. From quick, takeaway style food to sit down, stand out dinners you sure will be impressed by our local chefs and eateries. To start your day, we suggest a quick stop at the Sandfly café for a hearty breakfast, excellent barista-made coffee, and a sweet treat to enjoy later. For lunch, nothing beats a hot, freshly made pie from Miles Better Pies, venison and steak are among local favs here. Dinner time is your time to relax with the views and reflect on your day. The Redcliffe café has a selection of locally sourced dishes that are incredibly tasty. You can also head to La Toscana, a local favourite, with freshly made pizza and pasta dishes making you want to come back for more. Sip on a New Zealand made wine and enjoy the serenity of our town.

Cycling trails in Te Anau

Get on your bicycle of choice and head out on the Lake2Lake cycle trail between Lake Manapouri and Lake Te Anau for a morning of active adventure. The trail is fairly easy the whole way and totalling 30km’s it is the perfect mid-morning activity. You can organise a shuttle bus or jet boat drop off to the 20km mark if you prefer a shorter ride or keen to squeeze in more activities through the afternoon.

If you don’t have your own bike, Wild Ride can help you out with whatever gear you need. Pick up the pace with an E-Bike and cycle through the forest and lakeside for panoramic views of the landscape.

Scenic flight over the Fiords

There is no better way to see Fiordland than from above. Our scenic flight options are a plenty, offering different routes through and over the national park. Take in the sights and untouched land in Dusky and Doubtful Sound, fly and cruise in the iconic Milford Sound or take a ride on Fiordland’s only sea plane to a remote location. Much of Fiordland’s spectacular scenery lies beyond the tracks and roads, a scenic flight reveals a breathtakingly beautiful world of mountain peaks, hidden lakes, glaciers, and fiords.

With a full range of scenic flight options available you can fill an afternoon, an hour, or a full day exploring from the air.

Visit the Bird Park - see the Takahe

The Takahe was thought to be extinct for 50 years until it was rediscovered in 1948, deep in the Murchison Mountains. Today the Takahe population sits around 400 and there are strong conservation efforts in place to aid their safety.

To spot one (and other native birds, and chicks) head to the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary. Just a short 15-minute walk away from the town centre you will find an enclosure and breeding centre for our native birds. The staff are happy to answer questions and show you around and donations are welcomed to support the running costs of the sanctuary.

The sanctuary’s other residents include Kākā, and local Kereru (wood pigeons), Tui, and Morepork. Stop in for an hour on the way to your next destination. You never know who or what you might find.

Takahe - credit Douglas Thorne

Take a walk around Ivon Wilson Park

Hop across the street to Ivon Wilson Park. An open 35-hectare park with introduced and native trees, beautiful views of the mountains, and marked trails leading to the picture-perfect Lake Henry.

If you fancy a spot of frisbee golf or a picnic surrounded by nature, then Ivon Wilson Park is a must-do on your Te Anau itinerary. You could spend hours relaxing here or pop by late afternoon to wind down before dinner. Licenses for fishing in the lake are available at the Fiordland National Park visitor centre, you might catch yourself a brown or rainbow trout.

Glow-worm cave tour and lake cruise 

Looking to fill a few hours of your day then book an experience to the mysterious underground world of the Te Anau caves. With a guided cave tour past rushing waters of an underground stream before drifting in silent darkness beneath the luminous shimmer of hundreds of glowworms. The Te Anau Glowworm tour starts with a cruise across Lake Te Anau, a short nature walk, and a small boat ride inside the hidden grotto. In the darkness you will see hundreds of glowworms, unique to New Zealand, producing a glittering display that is a special and unique experience.

Glowworms - credit Real Journeys

Fiordland Cinema - Ata Whenua

The Fiordland Cinema and Black Dog bar are in the centre of town. Showcasing the best Fiordland on film experience. Ata Whenua is a breath-taking cinematic film by owner-operator Kim Hollows of Fiordland Helicopters. The 35-minute film will take you on a journey through the untouched land. Incredible visuals and narrated by Sir Tipene O’Regan of Ngai Tahu this film is not to be missed while visiting Te Anau.

Grab a Fiordland beer or wine from the bar and enjoy the beauty of the land. Other films are shown in the evenings too. Watching Ata Whenua is the perfect end to your days exploring in and around Te Anau.

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