The 4 Best Local Experiences in Te Anau

Te Anau, located on the edge of Fiordland National Park in New Zealand, is a true gem. With stunning lakes, majestic mountains and charming towns, Te Anau is the perfect destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Whether you’re a fan of scenic boat rides, hiking, fishing, or just relaxing and taking in the beauty of the great outdoors, Te Anau won’t disappoint! In this post, we’ll be exploring the best attractions and things to do in Te Anau, so you can make the most of your trip and experience all that this amazing region has to offer. So pack your bags and get ready for a journey through the natural wonders of Te Anau!

The 4 Best Local Experiences in Te Anau

  1. Milford Sound Small Group Tour Cruise Lunch from Te Anau
  2. From Te Anau 1 Day Milford Sound Coach Cruise
  3. Milford Sound Coach Cruise Underwater Observatory Lunch
  4. Te Anau Glowworm Caves Tour

The 4 Best Local Experiences in Te Anau

1. Milford Sound Small Group Tour Cruise Lunch from Te Anau

Take a guided small group tour by comfortable minibus from Te Anau to Milford Sound and its surrounding area. Your tour includes a sightseeing cruise, a picnic lunch and plenty of scenic stops along the way.

Begin by meeting your guide in Te Anau and drive along the lakeside making a stop at Te Anau Downs to soak in the scenery. Enter into Fiordland National Park and visit Eglinton Valley to admire the landscape sculptured by an ancient glacier. After that, continue to Mirror Lakes and see the Earl Mountains reflected in these clear waters. Relax and take photos by Lake Gunn before continuing towards Hollyford River. Pass the waterfall at Falls Creek as you head higher into the Darran Mountains stopping at viewpoints along the way.

During the tour, enjoy a sightseeing cruise on Milford Sound with mesmerizing views of Mitre Peak. Also, keep an eye out for native birds and other wildlife. Experience the best of Milford Sound and its surroundings with a knowledgeable guide.

2. From Te Anau 1 Day Milford Sound Coach Cruise

If you’re visiting Te Anau, taking a day tour to Milford Sound is a must-do. The journey alone is worth the trip – you’ll travel on a comfortable premium coach and take in the incredible panoramic views on the road to Milford Sound. Your experienced local coach driver will show you the best short walks and photo stops along the way, so you won’t miss a thing.

Once you arrive at Milford Sound, you’ll board the original cruise to get up close to the towering mountains and stunning waterfalls. You may even spot some of the native wildlife. The commentary is available in foreign languages, so everyone can enjoy the tour.

Milford Sound is approximately a 5-hour drive or a 45-minute flight from Queenstown or Te Anau, so taking a coach is a convenient and comfortable option. This is the perfect tour for nature enthusiasts and anyone who wants to experience the beauty of Milford Sound without any hassle.

3. Milford Sound Coach Cruise Underwater Observatory Lunch

Set off on an intimate day trip from Te Anau to Milford Sound and experience the most in-depth Milford Sound day trip available. Encounter the majestic alpine Milford Road on your way to the fiord, where you will embark on a small, more personalized cruise. Cruise beneath towering waterfalls, spot the native wildlife, and marvel at the grandeur of the mountains.

Your journey will include short walks and photo stops along Milford Road, led by an experienced local bus driver who will provide interesting and informative commentary. Upon arrival at Milford Sound, relax on the cruise with a freshly prepared picnic lunch, and visit New Zealand’s only floating underwater observatory. Get within touching distance of imposing rock walls and marvel at the up-close view of Stirling Falls.

Your passionate skipper will share their local knowledge with lively and informative commentary, making this a day trip that you will remember for a lifetime. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to experience Milford Sound like never before.

4. Te Anau Glowworm Caves Tour

Experience a mysterious and enchanting underground world during the Te Anau Glowworm Caves Tour. This tour will take you to the western shores of Lake Te Anau where you will embark on a scenic cruise before heading underground to explore the caves.

Your knowledgeable guide will lead you through the cave system, pointing out fascinating rock formations and providing insight on its history. As you wander through the caves, you’ll hear the sound of water echoing off the walls and see the light of hundreds of tiny glowworms illuminating the darkness.

The glowworms are a real highlight of the tour, creating a serene and otherworldly experience. These little creatures light up the darkness with stunning blue-green bioluminescence, adding to the incredible beauty of this underground wonderland.

At the end of your visit to the Te Anau Glowworm Caves, you will have the option to take a guided forest walk and learn about the unique flora of the region. This tour is perfect for those seeking a unique and enchanting experience in the breathtaking natural surroundings of Te Anau.

FAQs about Te Anau: Everything Tourists Need to Know

Are you planning to visit Te Anau, one of New Zealand’s most charming towns? If so, you’re in the right place. In this post, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Te Anau so you can better prepare for your trip. From weather and transportation, to activities and accommodations, we’ve got you covered.

1. What is Te Anau known for?

Te Anau is known for being the Gateway to Fiordland National Park, which is home to the popular Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound. The town is situated on the shores of Lake Te Anau, New Zealand’s second-largest lake, surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Visitors come to Te Anau to explore the natural beauty of Fiordland National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

2. What is the best time to visit Te Anau?

The best time to visit Te Anau is during the summer, from December to February. The weather is warm and pleasant, perfect for hiking and outdoor activities. However, this is also peak tourist season, so expect crowds and book your accommodations and tours in advance. Spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) are also nice times to visit, with fewer tourists and mild weather. Winter (June to August) is the off-season, with cooler temperatures and occasional snow.

3. How do I get to Te Anau?

The nearest airport to Te Anau is Queenstown Airport, about a two-hour drive away. You can rent a car or take a shuttle from the airport to Te Anau. Another option is to take a bus from Queenstown or Invercargill, both of which have regular connections to Te Anau. If you’re coming from Milford Sound, you can take a scenic bus or boat tour that stops in Te Anau along the way.

4. What are the best things to do in Te Anau?

There are plenty of things to do in Te Anau, both indoors and outdoors. Here are some of the most popular activities:

  • Hiking: Te Anau is the starting point for many of the best hikes in Fiordland National Park, such as the Milford Track and Routeburn Track.
  • Cruising: Take a boat tour of Lake Te Anau, Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound for a scenic and tranquil experience.
  • Caving: Explore the underground wilderness of the Te Anau Glowworm Caves or the Kepler Track tunnels.
  • Fishing: Cast your line in one of the many rivers and lakes in the area, such as the Waiau River or Lake Manapouri.
  • Museums: Learn about the history and culture of the area in the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre or the Te Anau Museum.

5. What are the best accommodations in Te Anau?

Te Anau has plenty of accommodations to suit all budgets and preferences. Here are some top picks:

Accommodation TypeRecommended Options
HotelsDistinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas, Fiordland Lodge, Kingsgate Hotel Te Anau
MotelsBella Vista Motel Te Anau, Anchorage Motel Apartments, Parklands Motel
HostelsTe Anau Lakefront Backpackers, YHA Te Anau, Explorer Motel & Hostel

6. Are there any food options in Te Anau?

Yes, Te Anau has a variety of dining options, from casual cafes to fine dining restaurants. Some local specialties to try include venison, seafood, and lamb. Here are some recommended restaurants:

  • Redcliff Cafe Bar: A cozy eatery with hearty breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
  • Olive Tree Cafe: A garden cafe serving organic and vegetarian fare, with homemade cakes and smoothies.
  • The Fat Duck: A top-rated restaurant with a focus on New Zealand cuisine, such as beef, lamb, and seafood.
  • Wilderness Cafe: A picturesque cafe with views of Lake Te Anau, serving coffee, tea, and light bites.

7. Is it safe to travel to Te Anau?

Te Anau is a very safe destination for travelers, with a low crime rate and friendly locals. However, as with any new place, it’s always best to take precautions such as staying alert, keeping valuables safe, and avoiding isolated areas at night. Be prepared for the weather and terrain if you plan to embark on outdoor adventures like hiking or boating.

How to Spend Your Time as a Tourist in Te Anau

As the gateway to Fiordland National Park, Te Anau is a small yet beautiful town that offers a range of activities and sights for tourists. Here’s a guide on how to make the most of your time as a tourist in Te Anau.

1. Visit the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre

Located on Lakefront Drive, the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre is a great starting point for your journey. Here, you can find information on the various activities available in the national park, as well as learn about the flora and fauna that inhabit the area. Plus, it’s free!

2. Take a Scenic Flight or Helicopter Tour

One of the best ways to see the stunning scenery of Fiordland National Park is by air. There are a few operators that offer scenic flights and helicopter tours that showcase the vast wilderness, jagged peaks and rugged coastline, and the stunning fiords. For those who are feeling adventurous, helicopter tours also include glacier or backcountry landings, which is the perfect opportunity for a unique photo or two!

3. Kayaking on Lake Te Anau

Kayaking on the crystal-clear waters of Lake Te Anau is a serene way to experience the stunning natural beauty of this region. There are different options available for kayaking, whether you rent a single or double kayak, or go on a guided tour. For those seeking a more adventurous experience, an overnight kayak tour is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural surroundings and catch some stunning sunsets.

4. Hiking the Kepler Track

For avid hikers, the Kepler Track is a must-do trail in Te Anau. This 60-kilometre track takes you up and over mountain tops, through forests and alpine tussock lands, and passes by crystal-clear lakes, waterfalls, and rivers. There are different options available for hiking the track, whether you embark on a guided walk or tackle it independently.

5. Visit the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary

The Te Anau Bird Sanctuary is a small yet lovely place that allows tourists to get a close encounter with some of New Zealand’s native birds, including the rare Takahe, which is found only in a few isolated parts of the country. The sanctuary is located a few minutes’ walk from the town centre and is open daily from dawn until dusk.

6. Take a Boat Cruise on Lake Te Anau

A boat cruise on Lake Te Anau is a perfect way to relax and soak up the stunning scenery. The cruise takes you around the lake, passing by iconic landmarks such as the Murchison Mountains and the hidden shoreline. Some operators offer dinner cruises where you can enjoy a meal while watching the sunset over the mountains.

7. Visit the Glowworm Caves of Te Anau

The Glowworm Caves of Te Anau is a unique way to experience the underground world. The tour takes you on a short boat ride through a mysterious underground cave system lit only by the natural light of thousands of glowworms. The guided tour provides informative commentary on the cave’s geological history and the life cycle of the glowworms.

8. Try the Local Cuisine

Te Anau has some excellent restaurants and cafes that offer local cuisine. Some of the must-try dishes during your stay include venison, lamb, and whitebait (a type of small fish that is unique to New Zealand). There are also several famous wineries in the surrounding areas that offer tastings and vineyard tours.

Book Your Tour Now

Te Anau is a great place to visit for those who love the outdoors and stunning scenery. There are plenty of activities available that cater to all types of travellers, whether you are seeking an adrenaline-fueled adventure or a relaxing and serene experience. Be sure to plan your itinerary well and make the most of your time in Te Anau!

The 4 Best Local Experiences in Te Anau