Your Te Anau bucket list!
You haven’t truly experienced the magic of the South Island until you step foot into Te Anau. Home to some of the most remarkable natural marvels and boasting that classic Kiwi charm, a trip to to the bottom of New Zealand will most certainly be a holiday to remember. From outdoor adventure, witnessing some of the greatest natural wonders of the world, to being in an environment that encourages visitors to relax and enjoy the simplicities of life.
We’ve put together our top seven picks for how to make the most of your next family holiday there…
1. Visit a glow in the dark cave
Seriously, it is as cool as it sounds. Te Anau is home to an underwater cave network that is home to thousands of luminescent glowworms! Te Anau quite literally means “the cave of the swirling water current” and it is no surprise exploring these caves is what put the small town on the tourist map in the first place. Families can take a guided boat ride to the entrance of these caves and experience the magic for themselves. Definitely one of our absolute must-do’s here.
2. Ride a bike
Te Anau has a beautifully groomed bike trail that links Lake Te Anau to Lake Manapouri and is known as The Lake2Lake Cycle Trail. It is one of the best ways to experience the region and explore scenery inaccessible by car. The trail is a total of 28km one way and we recommend allowing at least half a day to enjoy it all. While the region itself is extremely mountainous, this trail is nice and flat and suitable for nearly every fitness level (training wheels are also welcome!).
3. Cruise the 8th Wonder of the World
It is 100% mandatory to check out Milford Sound. No photo or blog will ever do justice to describing how epic this natural phenomenon really is. The best way to do it is to enjoy a day cruise on Milford Sound. You can drive there yourself through Fiordland National Park or hop on one of the many tour busses that go their daily. The journey to Milford is just as special, with waterfall and look out points galore! Once you arrive at the ferry terminal, you’ll get to board the boat and spend an hour on the water cruising through one of the most spectacular places in the world, in which kids and adults alike will be equally as amazed. Keep a look out for dolphins and seals as well!
4. Kayak in tranquil surrounds
While Milford Sound boasts the more dramatic landscape, with it comes heaps of tourists from around the world on a daily basis. Right next to Milford Sound is Doubtful Sound, a much larger natural phenomenon that has more to explore with less people around! Getting there is a bit of a mission, as you’ll need to hop on a boat, then a bus and then another boat before getting in the kayaks. But the efforts are SO worth it. Your family will be able to peacefully float on the water hearing only the sounds of birds calling from one side to another with only a handful of other people around. Holiday bliss!
5. Dine like a Southlander
With a small town comes minimal shopping and dining options. The Te Anau Dairy has become a one-stop-shop for Kiwis and foreigners alike, offering a large range of culinary options – from Chinese, Fish ‘n’ Chips, burgers, pies, ice cream and lollies. Grab your meal takeaway and bring it down to the Te Anau lakefront to enjoy your Kiwi classic meals while watching the sun set. If you’re after something in particular, check out our The Best Food in Te Anau article here.
6. Take a hike
Te Anau is the base camp to three of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks. The Milford Track, Routeburn Track and Kepler Track all offer day walks and multi-day trips for families. Doing at least one is an absolute must while in Te Anau. You can chat to the local DOC office to determine the best route for your family, as each track is a very different experience. But no matter what one you choose, we guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
7. Enjoy the lake
Te Anau is the largest lake in New Zealand’s South Island at 334 km2. Needless to say, there is plenty to do on the lake! From kayaking to swimming, fishing or lounging in a boat, your family will have fun passing the day on one of the most special lakes in New Zealand.
Daydreaming about all the incredible adventures your family will have in Te Anau? Start planning now and book your Te Anau holiday home.