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3 Nights Te Anau in February - Still Pondering Best Use of Time

3 Nights Te Anau in February - Still Pondering Best Use of Time

Nov 20th, 2017, 04:29 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,892
3 Nights Te Anau in February - Still Pondering Best Use of Time

Hello again NZ experts -

By having 3 nights, we obviously have 2 full days. Having researched this more, I am increasingly concerned about the crowds, especially for cruises on Milford Sound. The Doubtful Sound cruise, especially with an earlier departure time seems like we could avoid the masses of people. But that is only one day. Should we suck it up and go early to Milford Sound for a cruise and do our hikes later in the day? Or should we do an expensive heli-tour which could cover one or all of the sounds and just drive Milford Rd at a time when the tour buses aren't going?

If it was February and you had only that one time to go, how would you do it?
Craig is offline  
Nov 21st, 2017, 04:27 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,913
I've never experienced 'masses of people' in NZ.

Granted, I usually travel in the shoulder season, but a few years ago we were in NZ in February - over Chinese New Year no less. Sure, there were more people, but certainly not masses of them.

My strategy would be (and has been) as follows and ideal from a Te Anau base.

1) Get to Milford EARLY (drive yourself) before the busses from Queenstown arrive (they arrive around 11 am). Get on an early cruise, then take your time driving back to Te Anau making as many stops on the return as you see fit - you will be going in the opposite direction of the 'masses'.

2) Take your time getting to Milford, stopping en route to walk to Key Summit, etc. Get to Milford late in the day and take one of the last cruises of the day. Then head straight back to Te Anau for a late dinner. You will be rolling up the sidewalks as you leave Milford. The 'masses' will have dispersed.

The Doubtful Sound cruise is hugely popular, it books up quickly that time of year. There will be plenty of people on board.

I've been to Milford many times and have never taken the heli-tour, nor would I. For me, the drive in and out of Milford and all the beautiful walking tracks en route are the main attraction.

Are you a walker? There are some fabulous tracks in the vicinity of Te Anau - many of which might be near empty.
Melnq8 is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2017, 11:23 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,892
Glad to hear that you have never experienced "masses" of people in NZ. I have heard it can get "busy" at Milford Sound at certain times and may have embellished on that

We are walkers and will take advantage of a one or two in the vicinity of Te Anau, time and weather permitting as well as the walk to Key Summit on the way back from Milford Sound...
Craig is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2017, 12:15 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,251
Rainbow Reach to Lake Manapouri, part of the Kepler Track is a very nice walk near Te Anau. About 3 hours return.

We usually visit NZ in winter/ spring and have usually found that it is better to do specific activities early in the day rather than later. Nothing worse than seeing the weather change during the course of the day. Lost a few opportunities that way. It may be different in summer.
crellston is offline  
Nov 24th, 2017, 07:42 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 49
We were in Te Anau March 3 of this year. We had a 9am cruise and left Te Anau around 6am. We only saw 5 cars, had the chasm to ourself, saw one other couple ass we left. Not sure if you saw our review, here's the link. You're in for the trip of a lifetime.

phishears is offline  

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