Ron LaughlinThe Ultimate New Zealand Travel Guide
Te Anau & Fiordland
Te Anau –
Te Anau rates as a top outdoor and adventure destination with multi-day walks and jetboating, kayaking, mountain biking, diving and fishing along with quality accommodation and restaurants. It is the focal point of the area to see all the fiords have to offer. Good place to stay while in the area to discover all Fiordland has to offer. All the required services are here plus seven day shopping. Te Anau Glowworm Caves should be visited for one.
Lake Manapouri is a beautiful lake with bush clad edges, sandy beaches and coves and 33 small islands with a backdrop of the Cathedral Mountain range. The small settlement of Manapouri lies on its border. It is known as the departure point for Doubtful Sound excursions and trips to the West Arm Power Station, the largest underground power generation in the southern hemisphere. There are several tracks around the lake that include 'The Monument', 'Waterfall Walk' at Stockyard Cove, Gorgeburn Falls Track, the Kepler Track, Cone Peak, Percy's Pass, and Dusky Track and all are accessible by water taxi.
Milford Sound -
The road to Milford Sound is one of the world's finest drives. The road is fully sealed, but the 240 kilometre return journey between Te Anau to Milford takes a minimum of two hours driving (in each direction) without allowing for stops such as Mirror Lake to have a closer look at and Homer Tunnel. After going through the tunnel be sure to stop for a photo of the twisting road down the next few kilometres.
Among the Sounds most striking features are Mitre Peak, rising 1,692m above the sound. Milford Sound is a popular and scenically stunning place to visit. The drive into Milford is a journey in itself in terms of the beautiful scenery you will view en route. Milford’s abruptly carved peaks are majestic. I absolutely recommend taking the boat ride out through the Sounds past all the waterfalls and when having reached the ocean look back and wonder how Captain Cook and crew ever found the entrance while in their sailing ship.
Doubtful Sound -
Doubtful Sound does not have the dramatic scenery as Milford but the scenery is still awe inspiring. The difficulty of accessing Doubtful Sound creates a limitation to the number of people who go there, so you are more likely to have a more “remote” experience. Wildlife is slightly more abundant here so you have a higher chance of seeing the resident pod of dolphins or penguins and seals. There are several outstanding waterfalls in the area from Deep Cove to the open ocean, a distance of around 40.4 kilometres.
The Fiordland National Park is the most visited in all New Zealand by international visitors plus a lot of Kiwis so be sure to get all your bookings completed as soon as possible for this area and actually that goes for everything if coming during the busy months from Christmas through February.
Also remember this is the wettest area in the country so be prepared. One of the dramas of the area though is when it rains with waterfalls cascading off the tall peaks of the fiords.
I really recommend a boat ride out through the Sounds so you get to actually experience the fabulous area that is there.
Here are some information sites on the the area:
Te Anau/Fiordland Information
Here are the tours to enjoy the area:
For the fly fisherman the person to contact is Ian Murray for guided wilderness fly fishing.
Check into his site at: Fly Fishing Fiordland National Park
For an overnight boating experience with the best where you can enjoy fishing, diving and feasting on lobster and the fish you catch visit: Deep Cove Charters - Doubtful Sound
There are several camp grounds but only one I recommend. It is on SH94 on the road to Milford about a kilometre from town - Fiordland Great Views Holiday Park. The facilities and the owners are tops. They also offer a ton of stuff to make your stay here the best.
and for those not in a camper van here a great place to stay - Birchwood Cottages
Address: 208 Milford Road, Te Anau
Freephone: 0800 BIRCHWOOD(0800 247 249)
Phone: +64 3 249 9368
Fax: +64 3 249 9367
Upper Hollyford Valley