Things You Can’t Miss in Te Anau!
Let’s be honest. Most of you have come to New Zealand for its natural beauty. When you’re in a town that is on the edge of so many of New Zealand’ most scenic experiences, it’s daunting to pick just a handful! As most of us have limited time (and money) to see it all, what are the Te Anau must-dos?
While, of course, there are so many activities in Te Anau taking you into the Fiordland National Park, we have reduced this list to just five must-do experiences in Te Anau! However, if you do have the time to stick around a while, be sure to check out 6 Best Backpacker Hostels in Te Anau & Milford Sound for a cheap place to stay.
1. See Rare Birds at Te Anau Bird Sanctuary
As a free activity to see some of the most fascinating and rare birds in New Zealand, how can the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary not top our Te Anau must-do list?! Birds are kept in this centre for breeding programs to increase populations in the wild, as well as for rehabilitation before being released back in the wild. This gives us the unique chance to get close encounters with birds such as the takahe, kaka, kea, morepork, parakeet and much more!
Location: 181/209 Manapouri-Te Anau Highway, Te Anau. About 1km from the Department of Conservation (DOC) Visitor Centre on the Lake Te Anau waterfront. Follow the walking track from the DOC centre.
2. Take a Day Trip to Doubtful Sound
Over the water of Lake Manapouri and down New Zealand’s most isolated road lies a cruise experience in a quiet corner of Fiordland National Park, Doubtful Sound. The Doubtful Sound cruise is a full-day experience for those who don’t want just a taste of the famous New Zealand fiords, they want to immerse themselves in it! If you’re only to pick one fiord cruise from Te Anau, make it Doubtful Sound.
Location: Trips depart from Lake Manapouri with Real Journeys, about 20 minutes drive down State Highway 95 from Te Anau. Alternatively, there is the option to be picked up from Te Anau with Real Journeys.
3. Hike the Kepler Track
Te Anau is the start of two Great Walks, the Milford Track and the Kepler Track. However, if you’re only to do one, we suggest the Kepler! This 60km 3-4 day tramp might involve a few painful climbs but the views are beyond rewards. What’s more, the forest sections of the hike are some of the most “enchanting” in New Zealand. The Kepler Track tends to be quieter than the Milford Track and a lot more affordable.
Location: 5km from Te Anau township. The track begins and ends at the Kepler Track car park, at the southern end of Lake Te Anau. It can be walked to from the DOC Visitor Centre, 50 minutes away. Book your Kepler Track water taxi here.
4. Drive the Milford Sound Road
The ultimate Te Anau road trip, or more like the ultimate New Zealand road trip, is between Te Anau and Milford Sound. This road holds many awesome photo opportunities and hikes through unforgettable scenery. We really recommend taking your time to visit a few places on the Milford Road, even stay the night in one of the accommodations or campgrounds along the way. For inspiration on things to do on the Milford Road, head to 15 Stops You Can’t Miss on the Road to Milford Sound.
Location: State Highway 94.
5. Delve into the Te Anau Glowworm Caves
You haven’t seen glowworms yet?! One of the most impressive glowworm destinations has to be the Te Anau Glowworm Caves (a good option if you missed them in Waitomo). Boat trips depart from Te Anau town, taking you across the lake to the western shores of Lake Te Anau where a cave network not only holds fascinating rock formations and waterfalls but, of course, some glowworms.
Location: Trips start from Te Anau town lakefront.