80° BY THE SEA
Looking for a beach vacation? Let us help you find the right spot.More
Although Te Anau seems small, its lake serves as a larger and beautiful landmark. Trails around Fiordland reveal the natural blue color of the park’s water with looming mountains in the distance.
Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre. Information, transport options, and maps for the plethora of hikes near Te Anau, including the Kepler Track, can be obtained from the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre. Lakefront Dr., Te Anau, 9600. 03/249–7924. www.doc.govt.nz.
Kepler Track. The 60-km (37-mi) Kepler Track loops from the south end of Lake Te Anau and takes three to four days to complete. It goes through extensive beech forest, past limestone bluffs, and provides incredible views of the South Fiord and Te Anau Basin. It's a moderate walking trail but there are a number of hills to climb and a steep zigzag downhill section that takes a couple of hours and can be hard on the knees. It also includes an alpine crossing and hikers should beware of high wind gusts while crossing the exposed saddle above the bush line. If you're on a tight schedule take a day hike to the Luxmore and Moturau huts. Huts cost $NZ54 in summer and you need to book; check online or call the Great Walks Booking Office for advice and conditions. 03/249–8514 Great Walks Booking. www.doc.govt.nz.
Luxmore Jet. Luxmore Jet zips you up the Upper Waiau River, where the forest comes down to the river's edge. Once on lovely Lake Manapouri, you'll stop to experience the serene quiet. The company also pairs its jet-boat rides with flights by Wings and Water or Southern Helicopters Heli-jet. Once you reach Manapouri, you could take off on a floatplane to see Doubtful Sound or Lake Te Anau by air, or be whisked back to base by helicopter. 0800/253–826 NZ only; 03/249–6951. www.luxmorejet.com. From NZ$99 for the jet-boat to NZ$485 for the jet-boat-and-helicopter option.
Dart Stables Glenorchy. There's no better way to absorb some of New Zealand's most spectacular scenery than on horseback. Dart Stables has been operating in spectacular Glenorchy since 1992 and has gained a well-earned reputation for providing great horse riding in a stunning part of New Zealand. With over 50 horses of various breeds, knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides, and a wealth of experience, Dart Stables are able to provide riding for all level of rider. 58 Coll St., Glenorchy, 9350. 03/442–5688 or 0800/474–3464. www.dartstables.com.
Sea Kayak Fiordland. If you're an intrepid adventurer at heart, love camping and the great outdoors, and you're pretty active, then you'll find Sea Kayak's overnight trip an incredibly rewarding experience. It's not for the fainthearted; you can get wet and cold and the sandflies can be bad. But you'll be in a World Heritage area and you'll meet some wonderful like-minded people. If you're not keen on the overnight, go sea kayaking in Milford Sound for a day or half a day to gain the unique perspective on the fjord that being on the water gives you. Trips operate from September to May, with some differences according to location, so call ahead. 03/249–7700; 0800/200–434 NZ only. www.seakayakfiordland.co.nz. From NZ$130 for half-day; overnight trips from $NZ399.
Air Fiordland. Air Fiordland provides a range of scenic flights on its fixed-wing aircraft; including to Milford Sound from Te Anau or Queenstown with prices hovering around NZ$400. It also has combined packages that include a cruise ($450) or you can fly to Milford Sound for a cruise then fly to Glenorchy for a jet boat ride on the Dart River. (NZ$610) Transport to/from most accommodation in Queenstown/Te Anau's included. Manapouri Airport, Te Anau. 03/249–6720 or 0800/107–505. www.airfiordland.co.nz.
Southern Lakes Helicopters. Once you've seen the movie Ata Whenua at Fiordland Cinema you'll want to take to the air and see some of this scenery for yourself (or do the flight first and see the movie after!). Either way this helicopter company has operated successfully here for more than 25 years and has an excellent reputation. The Southern Lakes pilots have a wealth of knowledge and experience flying in this World Heritage area and offer scenic flights that can be taylor made. Lakefront Dr., Te Anau, 9640. 03/249–7167. www.southernlakeshelicopters.co.nz. From $NZ195.
Wings and Water Te Anau. Wings and Water Te Anau operates scenic flights with a floatplane that takes travellers to some of the region's most inaccessible areas, including a 10-minute trip over Lake Te Anau, Lake Manapouri, and the Kepler Track and longer flights over Doubtful, Dusky, and Milford Sounds. 03/249–7405. www.wingsandwater.co.nz. From NZ$95.