As the gateway to the New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, Te Anau is somewhere people usually pass through on their way to Milford Sound, or to do the Milford or Kepler Track. As part of our Covid driven local explorations, we have decided to stay four nights and explore. As we have started to find out – these ‘gateway’ places are magical in themselves, and well worth the stay. As usual we have our ebikes with us, so are on the lookout for cycle trails. Te Anau did not disappoint.
So first thing I suggest – stay longer in Te Anau!
Te Anau is one of the largests lakes in NZ, with more water than Lake Taupo, it stretches for 65 kilometres with three long glacier carved fiords. Te Anau looks and feels like a real community, as well as a tourist destination. Unlike Queenstown which seems to only cater for the tourists, Te Anau feels like a community that welcomes visitors.
Accommodation at Te Anau
We stayed in a lovely unit at Getaway Holiday Park – a little out of town on the lake. Highly recommended, we would definitely go back again. Lovely location, friendly and attentive staff.
Cycle to Manapouri on the Lake2Lake Cycleway
Highly recommended, it is an interesting ride along the Waiau River. On the other side of the river, the Kepler Track winds off. While the road is flat and straight, the cycleway goes up and down and round about in what makes it an interesting and enjoyable Grade 2 cycle. The Fiordland Trails was set up in 2007 to establish and maintain this cycleway. When finished the total length to Manapouri will be 28km.
We stopped off at The Church at Manapouri for cold beer and some chips and to fuel us for the easy flat ride on the main road back to Te Anau. You can get a shuttle there and you can ride back or vise versa to ease those legs, or in our case, save the battery. Wild Rides are your biking/shuttle people
10 Must dos in Te Anau – half of them FREE
- Get out on the lake: If the sun is shining, get out on that lake anyway you can. There is a 3 hour small boat cruise which includes a guided walk and exploration of the South Fiord.
- Walk the lake edge at Sunset (or any time!) FREE
- Walk/cycle the lakefront to left – past bird sanctuary out to control gates, Keep going and you get to Manapouri eventually FREE
- Walk/Cycle the lakefront to the right – past the marina out along the lakeside on great track to a river. FREE
- Visit the Bird Sanctuary and see the Takahe and Kakariki FREE
- Sandfly Cafe is the best: Have coffee and something to eat (actually it turned we went everyday!) at Sandfly Cafe – rated 2 on Trip Advisor it is pumping on the last day of the school holidays. Lots of seats in the sun or inside in the warm.
- Cycle to Manapouri on the Lake2Lake Cycleway – get a shuttle there and you can ride back or vise versa to ease those legs, or in our case, save the battery. Wild Rides are your biking/shuttle people FREE
- Visit the Glow Worm Caves with Real Journeys – this includes a beautiful 30 minute boat trip. Two trips a day and sometimes night trips too
- See a movie at the beautiful Fiordland Cinema
- No bike? Drive to Manapouri FREE