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Best things to do in Te Anau

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Where in the world: South Pacific  /  New Zealand  /  South Island  /  Southland Region  /  Fiordland National Park  /  Te Anau

Top 15 things to do in Te Anau

1. Milford Sound

Experience New Zealand's untouched wilderness by cruising Milford Sound, a fjord located within a World Heritage Site encompassing four national parks. Moved by the sight of rocky cliffs rising out of perfectly still water, writer Rudyard Kipling once described this fjord as the eighth wonder of the world. Mitre Peak, one of the most photographed mountains on the planet, towers over the sound. Most of the area's half a million annual visitors arrive by one of many bus tours from Queenstown offering easy access to this pristine natural world. Numerous operators also offer flights from Queenstown, drastically reducing transit time and giving you extra time for additional activities that day. If you're staying closer to the national park, you can reach the fjord by hiking a 50 km (31 mi) walking trail starting at Lake Te Anau.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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2. Doubtful Sound

Explore the many twists and turns of Doubtful Sound, a large fjord where calm, dark blue water is flanked by green mountain peaks. The sound was named by Captain Cook in the 16th century because he was unsure if it was accessible by sailboat; today, access to this isolated area is restricted to boat cruises and bus trips. To get more out of your visit, consider an overnight cruise or kayaking in the sound. The unspoiled wilderness area supports rare marine life like bottlenose dolphins, penguins, fur seals, and sometimes whales.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
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3. Routeburn Track, South Island

Hike across a variety of landscapes by following Routeburn Track, a renowned rainforest route in New Zealand. Most visitors take two to four days to cover the 32 km (20 mi) track, but you can also tackle shorter sections of it before returning to the starting point on the Queenstown side of the Southern Alps. Classified as one of the country's "Great Walks," this hiking route includes several huts and campsites along the way. Prepare for the route's long-distance views by charging your camera, or bring binoculars to see ever farther. If you choose to visit in the winter, remember that the track's alpine sections may require advanced mountaineering skills.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
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4. Te Anau Glowworm Caves

Step into a boat and glide into the magical world of Te Anau Glowworm Caves, a system of 12,000-year-old limestone caves carved into intricate curving shapes by the river running through them. The caves, also explorable on foot, are home to glowworms, bioluminescent fly larvae that fill the cave with a soft light. As the caves are fragile, certain areas are restricted from visitors. You will need to register online for one of a few daily tours by boat and foot, which are run in small groups of around 12 people.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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5. Kepler Track

Kepler Track allows visitors to trek from the beech-forest shores of lakes Te Anau and Manapouri to the very top of Mt. Luxmore. Traverse rocky mountain ridges, wander through tall mossy forests, and cross deep gorges and fast-flowing rivers on swinging suspension bridges. Explore the region's caves, featuring finger-like stalactites and stalagmites, or take a brisk dip in an icy waterfall. Well-constructed bridges, boardwalks, and steps make for a moderately difficult 60 km (37 mi) walk, usually done in two to four days. Each night, enjoy the comfort of running water and a roof over your head at the trail-side huts. Visit during the optimal season between October and April, and book your hut accommodations in advance.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
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6. Lake Te Anau

The largest body of water on South Island, Lake Te Anau boasts lush surroundings, plenty of aquatic activities, and a series of grand fjords. Carved out by glaciers millions of years ago, the lake features impressive mountain vistas and lies almost entirely within a national park. Hop aboard a kayak or boat tour from a local operator to explore from the water's surface, or hit one of the many surrounding trails through the lake's vast wilderness. Keep your eyes peeled and you may even glimpse the critically endangered takahe, a local flightless bird species.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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8. The Chasm Walk

Stroll through the sublime scenes of The Chasm Walk and its mezmerizing waterfalls. This fairytale-like natural wonderland, full of strangely shaped rocks and giant trees, offers the perfect scenery to take great photos, or simply go for a relaxing wander. Walk with ease across the well-maintained bridges, and look below to see water flowing through streams and crashing down waterfalls. Prepare yourself for a quick but memorable visit, with plenty of mystical photo opportunities.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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9. Boat Tours & Water Sports, Milford Sound

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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10. Hollyford Track, Fiordland National Park

Trek along the picturesque paths of Hollyford Track for a walk through some of New Zealand's richest landscapes. A multitude of walk options provide something for all tastes and abilities, so you can get the experience you desire from the mountainous and river-riddled scenery. Small group tours offer a personal route into the history, wildlife, and geography of the area, and exciting forms of transportation (a helicopter and a jet boat) bring fresh perspectives on the breathtaking environment. Alternatively, you can walk the trail at your own pace; the flat, well-maintained path remains accessible year-round.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
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11. Boat Tours & Water Sports

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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12. Mirror Lakes Walk, Fiordland National Park

Get a double dose of the stunning natural beauty at Mirror Lakes Walk, where the natural brush, lush greenery, and snow-capped mountains reflect onto the crystal-clear water below. Surrounding the lake are a handful of walking trails varying in difficulty, where visitors can spot the diving ducks unique to the area and the bright blue lupine flowers in bloom. Enjoy this scenic vantage point from the comfort of the cozy cafe, with a warm drink in hand.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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14. Lake 2 Lake Trail

Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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15. Fishing Charters & Tours

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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