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Things to do in
Lake Te Anau

Lake Te Anau: Our most recommended tours and activities

Te Anau: Glowworm Caves Guided Tour

1. Te Anau: Glowworm Caves Guided Tour

Experience a mysterious underground world of rushing water before drifting in darkness beneath the luminous shimmer of hundreds of glowworms.  Your trip to the Te Anau Glowworm Caves begins with a cruise to the western shores of Lake Te Anau. At the entry to the caves, view the informative displays and learn about this geological wonder before you head underground. On the tour of the caves, your friendly guide will point out the highlights and share their knowledge of the caves and its history. This underground world is astonishingly beautiful. The caves are 12,000 years old which by geological standards is still very young and they are still being carved out by the force of the river that flows through them. The result is a twisting network of limestone passages filled with sculpted rock, whirlpools and a roaring underground waterfall. Deep inside the caves, beyond the roar of the water, you will be taken by small boat into a silent hidden grotto inhabited by thousands of glowworms, unique to New Zealand. In the subterranean darkness, they produce a glittering display that is nothing short of extraordinary.

Lake Te Anau: 3-Hour Boat Cruise with Guided Walk

2. Lake Te Anau: 3-Hour Boat Cruise with Guided Walk

Your tour will begin when you arrive at the historic wharf of Lake Te Anau 5, where you'll be greeted by your crew and welcomed aboard “Faith”. You'll then receive a personalized briefing about safety onboard the ship and what to expect during the cruise.  Once onboard, you’ll be free to roam around and your crew will offer you a drink and a chat during the 40-minute journey to the Hidden Lakes wharf. During this time, you’ll learn about the history of your cruise ship, the vessel’s journey from Scotland in the 1980s and its Royal Navy service during WW2. Upon arrival at the Hidden Lakes, experience a guided walking tour of Fiordland National Park of roughly 45 minutes, and learn about the surrounding flora and fauna from your guide. Once back at the wharf, enjoy a selection of canapés and desserts in the calm of the cove. Finally, sit back and enjoy the journey home or visit the engine room to take a turn behind the wheel.

Te Anau: Kepler Water Taxi Transfer across Lake Te Anau

3. Te Anau: Kepler Water Taxi Transfer across Lake Te Anau

Travel across Lake Te Anau on the Kepler Water Taxi to reach the world-famous Kepler Track for a day walk. Meet the water taxi on the lakefront and head across to Brod Bay to explore the stunning Fiordland National Park at your own pace. Best of all, the trip is just a short 15 minutes. Sit back and relax during your comfortable transfer across the lake and marvel at the stunning natural surroundings. Once on the other side, explore the Kepler Track in a number of ways — there's something for everyone. If you're looking for a challenge, set your sights on Mount Luxmore. The summit can be reached in a day with a water taxi transfer across the lake, and is well worth it for the astounding views over Lake Te Anau and Fiordland. Alternatively, choose a more relaxing option by enjoying a gentle 10-kilometer walk from the same staring point, and walk your way around the bay back to Te Anau.

From Queenstown: Milford Sound Tour and Cruise with Lunch

4. From Queenstown: Milford Sound Tour and Cruise with Lunch

Take an unforgettable journey into the heart of Milford Sound, New Zealand's most famous destination. Experience the world-famous fiord in all its natural glory on this full-day return tour from Queenstown. Leaving Queenstown around 7:40 AM, travel in comfort along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and into southern farmland to Lake Te Anau. After a morning tea stop (at your own expense), head into Fiordland National Park. See the picturesque Eglinton Valley and take advantage of the photo opportunities.  At Milford Sound, board a 1-hour 45-minute cruise to explore the fiord and out to the Tasman Sea. Enjoy the boutique small boat cruise and experience Milford Sound with informative onboard commentary from your skipper.  Enjoy a picnic lunch at your leisure and board your coach to take you back to Queenstown returning at 8pm.

Te Anau: Evening Scenic Cruise

5. Te Anau: Evening Scenic Cruise

Glide over scenic lake Te Anau with this Fiordland Historic Cruises group tour. Enjoy the snow-capped peaks reflected in the pristine lake while sipping complimentary drinks and savoring tasty canapés. Anchor in an idyllic sheltered cove, and explore the historic ship Faith. Listen as your local crew shares the facinating story of the ship with you. Learn more about the stunning scenery you’re seeing. Take some time to bask in being in some of the most remote and untouched land in New Zealand. Get plenty of room, as this company caters to small groups of passengers. Hear personalized commentaries from the crew. Get the chance to help raise the sails and steer this classic ship over the lake.

Te Anau: Natural Landmarks & Lord of the Rings Location Tour

6. Te Anau: Natural Landmarks & Lord of the Rings Location Tour

This small group, fully guided day trip combines Te Anau’s top highlights with a Lord of the Rings experience and the option to add on some of the areas amazing activities, making this the ultimate way to experience stunning Te Anau. Itinerary: 1.Te Anau - The tour starts with pick you up from your hotel and head to a favourite spot for great photos of Lake Te Anau. 2.Te Anau Bird Sanctuary - Take a guided tour and to see some of the rarest birds in the country including the Takahe and Kaka. Learn about these animals and the local environment while exploring this Te Anau asset. 3.Dead Marshes - The journey continues to our first famous Lord of the Rings attraction, a viewpoint looking over The Dead Marshes. From here you can see where Frodo and Sam waded their way through the mud trying to get to Mordor. 4.Rainbow Reach – Visit a sight loved by hikers, Lord of the Rings fans and locals alike, Rainbow Reach. A cable bridge over the stunning Waiau River (known as The River Anduin in LOTR) leads to the start of the Kepler Track and one of the beautiful forests of Fiordland National Park. Hear some of the LOTR stories and learn about the amazing biodiversity in the park. 5.Lake Manapouri – Follow the river from Rainbow Reach to one of New Zealand’s most famous lakes, Lake Manapouri. The gateway to Doubtful Sound, spend some time exploring the shores of this crystal-clear lake and hear about its history including the construction of the Manapouri hydro dam, the largest in the country. Once you have had a look around it is a good time for a quick break at one of the local coffee shops. 6.Mavora Lakes - Departing Manapouri we make our way to one of the most famous LOTR sights and hidden gem of the Mavora Lakes region. See amazing landscapes and also several famous LOTR filming locations including two locations of Orc battles, where Pippin & Merry enter Fangorn Forest to escape the Orcs and where Frodo and Sam leave the Fellowship and cross the lake. This spot is paradise for nature lovers and LOTR fans alike, while here you will enjoy some free time to explore, eat lunch or maybe use some of our props and recreate some of the movie scenes. 7.Te Anau - Sadly the tour is coming to an end as we make our way back to Te Anau but your adventure should not finish there. While the destinations you will be visiting are truly spectacular, we believe it’s our small groups, passionate guides, the journey and the little details that set our tours well apart. Secret stops, wildlife viewings, specially designed vehicles, and many other pleasant surprises ensure our tours are an experience to remember.

Te Anau: River Jet Boat and Bike Ride Tour with Local Guide

7. Te Anau: River Jet Boat and Bike Ride Tour with Local Guide

Begin your adventure in the heart of Te Anau, a short walk from most accommodation. After check-in, rest at a picnic table to enjoy free WiFi and a charging station to make sure all your devices are good to go. Hop on the bus for a short ride through local farmland to the Queen's Reach boat launch on the Waiau River.  Gear up with spray jackets and life vests before heading down the Waiau River. Lined by ancient forest, this river is featured in The Lord of the Rings as the Anduin River. Contrast high-speed spins with pauses along the river in some amazingly tranquil places. Spot some trout in the crystal-clear water and have time to take plenty of photos. Learn about the area's unique environment and fascinating history from your knowledgeable local guide.  Emerge onto the breathtaking Lake Manapouri - named NZ's most beautiful lake - surrounded by glacier-carved mountains. Experience a sense of wonderment as you sit in awe of their beauty and grandeur - and perhaps take a sip... Go ashore to explore the ancient surrounds on a short walk through Fiordland National Park's lush beech forest. Stretch your legs before getting back on board to head up river with more fun, laughs and banter along the way. Back at the boat ramp, skip the bus ride back to town, and instead bike your way along Te Anau's Lake2Lake Cycle Trail. Take your time, stop for a picnic lunch and enjoy a bit of exercise as you make your way 11 kilometres on the edge of the upper section of the river and around the bottom of Lake Te Anau before finishing back where it all started.

Milford Day Walk | Milford Track Day Walk from Lake Te Anau

8. Milford Day Walk | Milford Track Day Walk from Lake Te Anau

Experience day one and a taste of the Milford Track—New Zealand's most famous hiking track—independently and at your own pace. A 50-minute boat journey between Te Anau Downs and Glade Wharf will have you on the Milford Track for a spectacular day walk experience. A highlight is reaching the first DOC backcountry hut, Clinton Hut (5km one way), where you'll find a perfect place for a picnic lunch and a swim in the nearby gin-clear Clinton River. Return the way you came to meet the water taxi at 4pm for your return journey back down Lake Te Anau.

Te Anau: Milford Sound Scenic Flight with Lakeside Landing

9. Te Anau: Milford Sound Scenic Flight with Lakeside Landing

Begin your adventure by soaring over the shores of Lake Te Anau. It’s a great way to get a feel for the grand Fiordland scenery right from the get-go. Once airborne again, fly high above the remote Wick Mountains and the rugged landscapes that surround the range. Look out for Lake Iceberg, which does exactly what its name says — grows icebergs. Soak up stunning views of Mitre Peak and Milford Sound as they unfold below; circuit the fiord to follow the route of the Milford Track. Soar over the McKinnon Pass — one of the tougher parts of the Milford — followed by a landing at Lake Quill, a hanging lake that is the source of the famous Sutherland Falls. Milford Sound itself is more than 9 miles long, running from the Tasman Sea to Deep Water Basin Harbour. It was the location for epic scenic shots in The Hobbit Trilogy; carved by glaciers, it really is deserving of every superlative you can think of. Returning to Te Anau, watch as the rugged beauty of Fiordland National Park unfolds before your eyes.

Other Sightseeing Options in Lake Te Anau

Want to discover all there is to do in Lake Te Anau? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Lake Te Anau

Overall rating

(428 reviews)

From the outset the trip went off without a hitch. Our guide - Shalandra was in control so that all present followed the rules and enabled schedules to be maintained. His sense of humour also helped events along. The packed lunch was up to standard, as was the coach comfort. We would certainly recommend GYG to anyone wanting to undertake a trip of this nature! Best wishes!

The cruise to the cave was beautiful. Our guide was knowledgeable and fun. The trip was organised very well. Seeing glowing worms in their natural surroundings was stunning.

An awesome cruise, with 2 incredibly passionate and knowledgeable guides. Highly recommended as a must do when in Te Anau.

Very informative and interesting. Activity was well organised and the presentation at the end was very well presented.

Great afternoon! Excellent hosts, fantastic weather and good snacks/drinks. Perfect way to spend an afternoon !