Te Anau

Te Anau, located on New Zealand’s South Island, is known as the Wilderness Capital of New Zealand — and for good reason. Te Anau serves as the pathway to Fiordland National Park, which includes Milford Sound. Plus, the city is situated on a spacious lake of the same name, which offers plenty of opportunities for boating, fishing, and so much more. Simply put, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities when you road trip to Te Anau. So, slip on your comfortable shoes, layer on the sunscreen, and discover what Te Anau outdoor activities you can experience during your stay. Consider these must-see spots before you book your campervan hire New Zealand and hit the open road. 

Te Anau Glowworm Caves 

Head to the western shore of Lake Te Anau to see a stunning natural site: glowworms in their natural habitat. Underground caves exist along this shore, so you’ll have to hop on board a boat to get to the caves. Once you arrive, tour guides will take you underground to begin your exploration. The 12,000-year-old caves boast a twisting network of limestone passageways. You’ll see uniquely sculpted rocks and even a stunning underground waterfall. Most notably, you’ll see the grotto that thousands of glowworms, native to New Zealand, call home. Since you’re underground in the darkness, you’ll watch in awe as these glowworms brighten the grotto with their neon glow. 

Visiting the Te Anau Glowworm Caves requires a tour guide, and there are several companies that offer this excursion. So, do some research to find the right trip for your group. Be sure to book your adventure in advance because the glowworm caves are a must see. 

Milford Sound 

Milford Sound, located about 118 kilometres north of Te Anau, is worth a day trip. Located in Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound is the only fiord in New Zealand accessible by road. That road begins in Te Anau, putting you on the path to this national park. Milford Sound’s impressive geography showcases different features, including mountain peaks like Mitre Peak, which stands 1,692 metres above sea level; two permanent waterfalls, Lady Bowen Falls and Stirling Falls; and even glaciers. A variety of rock formations exist as well, from granite and greenstone to large garnet crystals. 

With so many natural wonders at Mildford Sound, outdoor adventuring opportunities abound as well. Take a short day walk or hike — the Foreshore Walk and Lookout Track take just 30 minutes to walk and boast a distance of 400 metres. For a longer jaunt, hike Key Summit Track, a 3.4-metre track that delivers spectacular views of Lake Te Anau. If the water is calling your name, you have plenty of water-based activities to enjoy in Milford Sound. Go kayaking alongside roaring waterfalls. Throw in a line and go fishing. Go diving and discover various underwater plant and animal life, as well as the area’s famous black coral. If outdoor adventure is for you, Milford Sound is a must-see day trip when you visit Te Anau. 

Go Hiking  

More local hiking options are also available in Te Anau. Kepler Track begins in Te Anau and, if you’re willing, can take you on a three- to four-day adventure. Or, you can just explore the track in Te Anau before returning to your campervan hire New Zealand for the night. You’ll hike past the shores of Lake Te Anau and then climb steadily to the top of limestone bluffs. You can take in panoramic views of the area, with the Te Anau Basin and Snowdon and Earl Mountains in your sights. 

Te Anau: Top Things To See And Do 

Lake Te Anau is the biggest of New Zealand’s glacial lakes in the south, spanning 344 square kilometres. Three fiords extend out from the lake. This lake serves as an ideal spot to spend a day soaking up the fresh air, exploring Te Anau, and looking for wildlife native to the area. Lake Te Anau is home to several endangered bird species, so you might spot weka, kea, kaka, and wood pigeons while you’re there. Naturally, this spot offers plenty of water-based activities, whether you want to finish, boat, waterski, or swim. You can also walk or mountain bike adjacent to the lake, taking in its scenic views while you get active.  

See the Stars 

Thanks to little pollution and no city skyline in sight, Te Anau is an ideal place to go stargazing. While you’re there, reserve a night to go on a stargazing tour and take in the mystical beauty of the night sky. Astronomy Fiordland offers 90-minute stargazing tours, which allows you to spot the constellations visible from southern latitudes. You’ll walk away from this adventure with unforgettable memories of spectacular views of the clear Te Anau night sky.

Nature lovers will be delighted when they visit Te Anau. Countless outdoor activities make this spot on New Zealand’s South Island a must visit. Whether you’re relaxing at Lake Te Anau or hiking at Fiordland National Park, this area has something to offer every outdoor adventurer. Take your campervan hire New Zealand to Te Anau for an unforgettable road trip.

Ralph Maccabe

The author Ralph Maccabe

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