Te Anau Things to Do

  • Glow worm cavern
    Glow worm cavern
    by al2401
  • Glow worm threads
    Glow worm threads
    by al2401
  • The waterfal - Te Anau Glow worm caves
    The waterfal - Te Anau Glow worm caves
    by al2401

Most Recent Things to Do in Te Anau

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    HOMER TUNNEL

    by balhannah Updated Jan 26, 2010

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    Homer Tunnel

    To get to MILFORD SOUND, you have to pass through the fairly famous Homer Tunnel.
    Before this tunnel opened in 1954, there was no road to fiordland.

    The HOMER TUNNEL has been improved greatly over the years.
    The tunnel is straight, and was originally single-lane and gravel-surfaced. The tunnel walls remain unlined granite.
    Until it was sealed and enlarged it was the longest gravel-surfaced tunnel in the world.

    An advancement was when roof lighting was fitted and traffic lights reintroduced in 2004 to reduce capacity constraints and safety issues.
    Although the tunnel is large enough for a bus and a smaller vehicle to pass, meetings involving two coaches or campervans are not the best. We went through in our Campervan, and were quite happy that on both occasions, we did not meet another vehicle.

    The traffic lights operate only during the peak summer season, since the avalanche risk makes it unsafe to stop and queue at the portals in winter and spring. A widening of the tunnel, to allow for true two-laning may be happening in the future.

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    • Road Trip

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    The drive to MILFORD SOUND

    by balhannah Updated Jan 26, 2010

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    Scenery on the way to Milford Sound

    Our drive to Milford Sound was on a beautiful sunny day.

    Milford Sound [world heritage status] is approx 120km from Te Anau.

    The scenery is beautiful, there is much to see, like Mirror Lakes, The Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain, the mountain appears to shrink while you are driving toward it!, dense forests and small lakes.
    You pass through the Homer Tunnel which was started in 1935 and not open to traffic until 1954 it is 1200m long. After leaving the tunnel you will see some spectacular views along the Cleddau Valley, then there is the Chasm, the falls where the Cleddau River drops about 22m through a series of rock formations, and finally the Head of Milford Sound, which is the most famous and accessible of the magnificent glacier fiords.

    It is Fiordlands best known attraction along New Zealand’s south western coast.

    NOTE......
    The road is occasionally closed from the Marian Corner due to adverse weather conditions, particularly in winter. Signs at each end of the road notify motorists of closure. The no stopping signs between Marian Corner and The Chasm should be observed during periods of avalanche danger.

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    THE CHASM

    by balhannah Written Jan 25, 2010

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    The Chasm

    This place was amazing!

    Just a short walk from the road, the water is rushing down the Cleddau River with such force, that over thousands of years, it has sculpted the boulders and has even put holes through them! It was rather mesmerizing, you definately wouldn't want to fall in, it would be the end of you! Waterfalls, lovely forest, but hard to get a decent photo to show what it IS REALLY LIKE, you really have to stop and have a look yourself!

    Only about a 20min walk.

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    • National/State Park

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    THE CRUISE AT MILFORD SOUND

    by balhannah Written Jan 25, 2010

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    Waterfalls galore!
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    We booked our Milford sound cruise at Te Anau, whether this is a good idea or not, I am not sure. Weather is very unpredictable in this area, and a fine sunny day, very quickly became a very, very wet night and following day!

    Our cruise was with the "RED BOAT'
    This company was professional and good, no complaints and would use them again!

    We arrived the night before the cruise and stayed at Milford sound.

    Overnight.................

    Yes, it rained and rained, and we already had the cruise booked. Looking out of our Campervan window, to our amazement, we saw big Waterfalls that weren't there yesterday. It was cold and wet, so we rugged up and went to do the cruise.

    The Cruise..............

    The day was dull, drizzly rain, and fog misting over the mountains, but Waterfalls!, our Captain said there is over 100 of them when it rains, and wow! what a sight it was, absolutely fantastic. Normally, there are only 3 permanent waterfalls. The photos didn't come out the best, but the memories remain.
    We were told we were lucky to see it like this, and I think so too.

    YES, we were disappointed the day had turned ugly, but the Cruise was still worth doing, just to see all the amazing waterfalls, it was fantastic!

    Now we will have to go back to see it on a sunny day!

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    The rare 'TAKAHE'

    by balhannah Written Jan 25, 2010

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    Takahe statue

    Walking around the shops at Te Anau, we came across a large turquoise Bird statue!

    This statue was of the Takahe which was thought to be extinct for over 40 years until it was rediscovered in a remote valley across Lake Te Anau. Now with the wild population entirely endemic to the Fiordland area, you can see the "real thing" at the Te Anau wildlife park, along with other species such as keas, kaka, bellbirds and tui’s.

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    • Zoo

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    LAKE MANAPOURI

    by balhannah Written Jan 25, 2010

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    Lake Manapouri

    We arrived at Lake Manapouri on our way to Te Anau. The drive here was through some fantastic scenery with snow capped Mountains in the distance.

    We really liked this lake and town, it was quite quiet and the lake with the surrounding Cathedral Mountains was very pretty.

    This is where the cruises to Doubtful Sound leave from. A day excursion takes you across Lake Manapouri to West Arm, and then you travel by coach over Wilmot Pass to Doubtful Sound to board the catamaran for a three-hour cruise through the fjord.

    Lake Manapouri is located only twenty minutes from Te Anau, and is worth the drive to here.

    Located on the SOUTHERN SCENIC ROUTE

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Cruise

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    Routeburn Track

    by Robmj Written Oct 31, 2009
    Routeburn Track near Howden Hut

    This is now one of the most popular tracks and while not overcrowded with trampers, you will need to book in the peak season (Nov to April) to get hut accommodation.

    The track covers 32kms and starts at the Divide which is 85kms from Te Anau or it starts at the Routeburn shelter which is 25kms from Glenorchy. Most walkers do the track over 3 days and 2 nights. The routeburn is not a circular track, you need to organise transport at one end. However, you can also link into a longer trip by continuing on back down the Greenstone or Caples tracks arriving back at Lake Wakatipu just south of Kinloch and do a big loop or end up near your start point if you began at the Glenorchy end.

    Transport connections can be arranged at each end (Tracknet) depending on what options are selected.

    From the shelter point start, it is 6.5kms (.15-2.5 hours) to the first hut and campsite (the flats hut) and a further 2.3km (1-1.5 hours) up a stepper climb to the Falls huts (no camping). The next stretch is 11.3kms (4.5-6 hours) to the Lake McKenzie Hut and camping area. This is an alpine exposed area, so you need to be aware of the weather, it can change quickly. This section passes the superb Harris Saddle area. From here it is another 8.6km (3-4 hours) to the Lake Howden Hut and another 3.4kms out to the end of the track. From the Howden Hut is where you can connect and continue down the Greenstone or Caples tracks or continue onto the Divide on the Te Anau - Milford Road and end up about 85kms from Te Anau.

    This is a very worthwhile tramp.

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    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

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    Kelper Track

    by Robmj Updated Oct 31, 2009

    This is a fantastic 60km track that is part of the Department of Conservation's Great Walks Tracks.

    The track is a large loop and can be accessed from either end and in fact can be split into day walks for the two end sections if you want. The best way to do this track is anti-clockwise, this allows you a more gradual (although relentless) climb up the 1,000 metres through beech forest to the bushline. The track is generally done in 3-4 days, although I did it in two full, gruelling days with an overnight stay at the Iris Burn Hut.

    Doing it normally, day one would start at the control gate (or take a boat to Brod Bay to cut out a flat 5kms) and go 14kms to Luxmore Hut. A side detour time permitting is to climb Mt Luxmore. Day two is across the spectacular alpine section (14kms) and down into a valley for the Iris Burn hut and campsite. This section can be dangerous, you need to be aware of the weather, wind and snow conditions. Day 3, would be a 16km trek along a valley filled with beech forest to the Moturau Hut nestled along the shore of Lake Manapouri. The next day you can walk 6kms to rainbow creek (exit point) or continue another 10kms back to the control gates and finish point of the full circuit. The Kepler is a spectacular track and very very popular but receives less publicly than the Milford Track. I would actually recommend this one.

    In the summer months (Nov-April) you must book the huts and campsites which can be done from the National Park Visitor Centre in TeAnau (ph 03-249 8514 for the great walks bookings). For transport or pickup at each end of the track, Tracknet offers shuttles (ph 03-249 7777

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    Milford Sound

    by Robmj Updated Oct 31, 2009
    Mitre Peak at Milford Sound

    This is a very well known and popular tourist destination and the buses and people swarm in like flies on a daily basis with many bus loads doing day trips from Queenstown.

    However, you should take your time, not only is Milford Sound superb, but there are many other less visited side attractions and walks along the road stretching between TeAnau and Milford.

    Aside from the many boats you can take out into the sound (a must do activity) you should also walk along the short (20 minute return) foreshore walk. From here you can linger and take in great views of Mitre Peak but also explore the shoreline and surrounding fauna and vegetation.

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    • Sailing and Boating
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Key Summit

    by Robmj Written Oct 31, 2009
    Key Summit

    This is an outstanding walk that begins at the Divide and where the Routeburn track either begins or ends.

    The Summit is at 919m and climbs from the start point at 540m. It will take around 3 hours return to do this trip or less if you are fitter. It does climb steadily but you are rewarded with stunning views from the summit.

    The summit is an alpine area with stunted silver beech, alpine tarns, bogs and is protected by an imformative signed boardwalk at the top. From the top you can see the Hollyford, Greenstone and Eglington Valleys and you are surrounded by the Ailsa and Darran mountains.

    This is a very popular walk.

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    • Hiking and Walking

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    Lake Gunn

    by Robmj Updated Oct 31, 2009
    Lake Gunn

    Lake Gunn is a beautiful spot. There is a loop track that takes 40 minutes return, although make sure you do the short detour to the outlet of Lake Gunn. When you get there, you will realise why you took this little excursion!. On the main track loop, you will pass pebbled beaches on the lake shore and thick forest dominated by massive red beech trees.

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    Visit some deer farms

    by abi_maha Written Feb 3, 2009
    Deer farms!
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    Coming from India we are so used to seeing deer as 'wildlife', animals that jump, frisk and frolic in the jungles here. In NZ whe we saw some very tame and 'cattle-like' deer it took us a while to get used to the idea that these were farm animals! So in Te Anau when we spotted some farms we just walked up to the owners and asked them to let us spend some time there. It was a very interesting way to spend half a day!

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    Stroll Around Lake Te Anau

    by abi_maha Written Feb 3, 2009
    Along the walk we spot this solitary tree
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    After a cruise on the sounds and getting back for a late lunch, we were in no mood to catch another ride to the glow worm caves. So we decided to just spend a lazy evening walking around Te Anau. After all this was the 'walking capital' of the world. We took a 30 min walk at the start of the Kepler Track. Starts at the control gates, the well-defined track follows the lakeshore passing through stands of attractive native forest. A pleasant bay with views across the lake to Te Anau. Swimming and picnic facilities available. Further on from Dock Bay, Brod Bay is another popular spot in summer for boaties and day walkers alike who enjoy its broad beach and picnic facilities. This was a nice way of spending the evening and stretching our legs after the long coach ride.

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    Cruise the Sounds, not hear them :D

    by abi_maha Updated Feb 3, 2009
    A waterfall and picture perfect peaks
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    Milford is by far the best known of all of the fiords and the only one that can be accessed by road. It is approximately 16km from the head of the fiord to the open sea, which means visitors can comfortably travel the length of the fiord to open ocean and return on one of the many cruise options available in one and a half to two hours cruising time- this is exactly what we did. But beware the cruise offers you only a snack and there is not much food available on board, so by the time we got done we were really hungry!
    We took a coach to the Milford Sound straight from Wanaka, somehow we hadn't read anywhere about the route to this sound, to say the least it is spectacular. You get to see some snow capped peaks from which you can trace the waterfall to where you are standing that then continues to run down an an ice cold stream! All the more a reason we were disappointed we didn't hire a car to make many more stops on the same. But the coach drivers with their commentary do give you quite a few stops at strategic and photogenic points!

    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating

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    Glowworm Caves

    by MFAMILY Written Apr 18, 2008

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    After the

    The Caves are on the othe shore of the lake, so to get there we take a scenic boat trip.
    On the other shore we enter a dark cave and take a boat along a strong current river. Our guide pulls a rope to lead the boat making the least of the sounds. as it stops we cannot make any sound at all as this disturbs the worms. As our eyes get used to the darkness, a "sky" of little lights blue shiny stars fascinates us. The more hungry they are, the more they shine!

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