Hotels in Te Anau (South Island, New Zealand)

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Hotels in Te Anau

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Make Te Anau your gateway to New Zealand’s finest scenery

Tranquil Te Anau is a springboard to some of New Zealand’s most spectacular landscapes. Located in the south-western corner of the stunning South Island, this town on vast Lake Te Anau’s eastern shore is the gateway to a mountainous wilderness hugging the remote Tasman Sea coastline. Furthermore, it’s about 75 miles from the island’s best-loved attraction of Milford Sound with its incredible fjord scenery. Offering many hotels, Te Anau also boasts opportunities for fishing, walking, kayaking, wildlife-watching and organised tours in the rugged Fiordland National Park. Caves illuminated by glow-worms and locations featured in The Hobbit films are also nearby.

Discover jaw-dropping landscapes that live long in the memory

When it comes to eye-popping scenery, South Island is hard to beat with its mighty glaciers, lakes, rivers, valleys and fjords overlooked by the steep Southern Alps mountains. Moreover, Te Anau’s location makes it a great base for your visit to the region because amazing backdrops are all around plus it boasts numerous hotels and restaurants. Indeed, the splendour of the surrounding countryside has not gone unnoticed by Hollywood studios. About six miles along the Milford Road north of Te Anau, movie fans might recognise lowland scenery featured in Kiwi director Peter Jackson’s first film in The Hobbit series. It’s one of several filming locations near Te Anau that Jackson harnessed in his cinematic adaptations of J.R.R Tolkein’s Middle Earth novels. Another, used to represent Fangorn Forest in the Lord of the Rings films, can be found in wooded mountains about 13 miles to the north-east.

Not only is Te Anau the gateway to Fiordland National Park and the wider Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Site to the west, but also it’s the last major settlement on the beautiful road leading to majestic Milford Sound to the north. Frequently named among the most photogenic drives in the world, the avalanche-prone Milford Road to the world-renowned beauty spot takes about two hours, passing through the astonishing Eglinton Valley with its steep mountainsides and the Mirror Lakes, offering photographers a chance to capture reflections of the gorgeous Earl Mountains. A magnet for day-trippers, the remote, wet and unique marine environment of Milford Sound is usually visited on organised coach and boat trips. Travellers can marvel at its corals, waterfalls and mountains that plunge straight into the sea while perhaps glimpsing seals, dolphins, penguins and whales. Helicopter tours are also available.

Outdoor activities galore

Located in the Southland region, Te Anau offers a more sedate and economical alternative to Queenstown, perhaps the region’s best-known resort with its reputation for extreme sports. However, seasoned adventurers can find unforgettable outdoor activities to enjoy in the area surrounding the hotel hotspot of Te Anau. Besides day-trips to Milford Sound, local tour operators usually offer longer itineraries which include canoeing on the dramatic fjord or overnight stays beside it. Organised trips are also available to the even harder-to-reach Doubtful Sound, another captivating inlet brimming with wildlife and raw natural beauty. It lies about 25 miles west across rugged and uninhabited terrain. Around Te Anau you can also enjoy cycling and farm tours.

The area’s lakes also host countless activities, including speedboat rides, canoeing and trout fishing, which is abundant on Lake Te Anau, South Island’s largest lake. Boat trips across the water to the limestone Te Anau Caves are another popular activity since the water-filled grotto is frequently illuminated by glow-worms. Meanwhile, Manapouri township is about 20 minutes’ drive from Te Anau and it too offers opportunities for activities in the great outdoors. Besides being a gateway for guided trips to Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound, Manapouri is a great base for kayaking on the eastern fringes of scenic Lake Manapouri, where there are coves, beaches and lagoons aplenty.

Wonderful wildlife

New Zealand’s geographical isolation coupled with the remoteness of the South Island’s south-western corner make the region around Te Anau fertile ground for biodiversity and wildlife-watching. Te Anau’s World heritage Site hinterland of exceptional landscapes contains some of the best living representations of the unusual flora and fauna of the ancient Gondwana supercontinent. Even though marine life is best viewed at Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound or Dusky Sound, you can also see rare creatures closer to your hotel in Te Anau. There are flightless kiwi birds native to New Zealand plus deer, falcons and kea alpine parrots in the wild nearby. Furthermore, Te Anau possesses a bird sanctuary housing endangered takahe birds, once believed to be extinct.

Strap on your walking boots

With so much amazing scenery on their doorsteps, it’s little wonder that New Zealanders love hiking, or tramping as it’s known locally. Visitors to Te Anau can leave their hotels and head for the pristine wilderness to take on some of the area’s famously scenic walking trails. The Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre is a good place to get details concerning the rules and costs associated with tramping, which often involves pre-booking because walkers stay in designated huts with limited spaces. The Milford Track to Milford Sound begins on the northern shores of Lake Te Anau. Founded by native Maori people to transport precious greenstone, it passes tall waterfalls featured in The Hobbit films and climbs to 1,154 metres above sea level. The 37-mile looping Kepler Track starts even nearer town and takes walkers for four days into forested mountains and valleys that were gouged out by glaciers.

Frequently Asked Questions about Te Anau