With dramatic mountain backdrops, unspoiled surroundings and magical lakes, Te Anau and Manapouri offer outdoor activities and tranquil surroundings from which to discover Fiordland National Park.
Bordered on one side by lush forest, Lake Te Anau is the South Island’s largest lake, and New Zealand’s second largest. The town of Te Anau sits on the lakeshore looking across to the magnificent Mount Luxmore and Murchison mountain ranges. Te Anau is also known as ‘the walking capital of the world’, being close to three of New Zealand’s great walks: the Kepler, Routeburn and Milford Track. Described as the ‘gateway to Fiordland’, Milford Sound is a picturesque two-hour drive away.
Also on the shores of Lake Te Anau is the Punanga Manu o Te Anau/Te Anau Bird Sanctuary, home to a number of New Zealand’s rare and unique birds that are often difficult to see in the wild. Amongst them is the flightless takahē, the kākā - a native forest parrot - and the kererū, the New Zealand pigeon.
Often labelled the loveliest of all lakes, Lake Manapouri is set against the spectacular Cathedral Mountain range, and consists of 33 small islands, sandy beaches and coves with native bush-fringed edges.
As well as the departure point for excursions to Doubtful Sound and trips to the West Arm Power Station, Manapouri offers a variety of walks along the Manapouri Track – where walks range from four-hour strolls to overnight hikes to Hope Arm and Mount Titiroa, with the chance to spot interesting birdlife and spectacular views along the way. A host of more remote tracks are accessible around the lake.
Fans of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ films can also visit locales used in the films, including the Waiau River (River Anduin) and the Kepler Mire (Dead Marshes).
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