THINGS TO DO
in Te Anau
Here at Te Anau Lakefront Backpackers, we love exploring the outdoors just as much as you do, so have lots of tips, tales and top ten things to do in Te Anau.
We’re also a full-service travel desk, which means you can plan and book your entire adventure with us. How convenient.
Take a squiz below for our top picks and come have a yarn with our friendly staff. We'll have you outdoors in no time.
TE ANAU BY LAND
Whether you’re hiking, riding, horse trekking or quad biking, there’s loads of wonderful ways to explore Te Anau by land.
For those who prefer to adventure by bike, the Lake 2 Lake Trail is quite the stunner at around 3.5 hours return. For those who like a bit more grunt behind their wheels, there’s also quad biking around the raw terrain of Te Anau.
Hike the Great Walks outside of the high season for less crowds and much, much cheaper fees. But keep an eye on the weather!
Being the only lakefront backpackers in town, we’re experts in exploring our stunning sights by boat.
The Milford and Doubtful Sound are home to many cruise providers who offer both day and overnight adventures through the sounds for all budgets. Have a chat to our friendly staff about organising your transport too.
Alternatively, you can earn your scenery with a kayak trip. Operators offer day trips or overnight expeditions where you can camp on your own little beach under the stars and tell tales by firelight.
For those who enjoy sight-seeing at speed, Fiordland Jet heads off from Lake Te Anau, before whipping down the famous Waiau River, featured in New Zealand's pride and joy - The Lord of the Rings.
If you really want to immerse yourself in nature and meet the locals, kayaking gets you close and personal as dolphins and penguins swim right on by.
TE ANAU BY lake
TE ANAU BY air
Te Anau is your gateway to the majestic Fiordland National Park, a World UNESCO Heritage Site and one of the most remote places you’ll ever have the pleasure of exploring.
For those without a fear of heights and a slightly larger travel budget, flying is the best way to take it all in.
Whether you’re soaring by helicopter or scenic flight, all local pilots have amazing knowledge of the area and will take you to otherwise inaccessible locations.
After a big day out in the elements, you’ve definitely earned a hearty southern meal at one of Te Anau’s tasty pubs, restaurants and takeaway joints. We’ve done our fair share of taste testing over the years, so here are our favourite Te Anau restaurants:
Pies - Miles Better Pies
Food truck – Bao Now
Chinese takeaways – Te Anau Dairy
Fish & chips (the blue cod is a Kiwi favourite) – Mainly Seafood
Restaurant - The Redcliff
Gastro-pub - The Fat Duck
Pizza - Paradiso
Taster menu - Black Dog (in the Fiordland Cinemas)
The BAO now food truck serves a delicious range of bao buns and Vietnamese salads – try the rabbit or venison for a southern twist.
best restaurants in te anau
THE BEST bars in te anau
Here at Te Anau Lakefront Backpackers, we believe that life is about balance and there’s nothing like finishing off a healthy day outdoors with a refreshing pint. Or two.
We are also located down stream from some of the best vineyards in New Zealand and have the pick of the bunch when it comes to local wines.
We’ve got our fair share of drinking holes, so park up at your favourite for the night or pub crawl your way around the town. All bars are within walking distance and just a short stumble home.
The Redcliff – cosy, charming bar and restaurant set in an early settlers cottage with live music twice a week.
The Ranch – as the name implies, she’s our southern themed pub.
The Moose – a sports bar located on the lakefront, she’s your go-to for a beer in the sun or for watching the game.
The Fat Duck - as well as great food, they serve a tasty brew too.
Known as 'the pride of the south' Speight's is the local brew of choice. Follow up a decent chug with 'good on ya mate' and you'll fit right in.
We might be the home of the outdoor explorer, but we haven’t quite worked out how to control the weather. Instead, we've compiled a list of things to do when the weather in Te Anau is a bit more stormy.
Grab some treats and tuck into a movie at Fiordland Cinemas, an independent theatre playing the best flicks from around the world and art house releases. If you’re having outdoor withdrawals, head to one of their daily screenings of ‘Fiordland on Film’ for an unforgettable journey through one of the most awe-inspiring landscapes on earth. If we say so ourselves.
For those who are still seeking adventure, the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves are a must-do. Hidden beneath the mountains is an underground network of caves lit by thousands of glow worms. It has been described as ‘one of the most unusual limestone cave experiences on the planet’.
If you’re in the market for a day of relaxation and revival, there’s saunas, outdoor spas and massages to be enjoyed.
And if all else fails, our movie room has a range of flicks to help you wait out the bad weather.
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