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Lake Te Anau, Te Anau Overview

Covering an area of 344 square kilometres, Lake Te Anau is among the largest southern glacial lakes. The east side of the lake is characterized by rolling hill country. The Murchison and Kepler ranges rise towards the western side, a magnificent haven of mountains, forests and wilderness. Three large fiords reach the lake from the west side, and the lake’s main body runs north-south.

Most of the lake is encapsulated within the boundaries of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site and the Fiordland National Park. The lake has two settlements at its shore. The larger one of these is the Te Anau Township. You can easily find an operator to take you kayaking and cruising at the lake or visit the geologically active site of Te Anau Glowworm Caves.
The lake is the second largest in New Zealand. It is fed by glacier water and is highly popular among recreational anglers, power craft enthusiasts, kayakers and sailors. Scenic cruises offer an excellent option for travellers looking for slower-paced activities. Water skiing at Brod Bay is another activity tourists enthusiastically indulge in. In addition, the wilderness is famed for spectacular sceneries and tramping.

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Best Time to Visit Lake Te Anau

You can visit Lake Te Anau during Spring and Autumn, when the climate is mild. The tourist season during the months of November and March is not at the peak as the locals are busy with school, college and work. Hence, you can enjoy some peaceful wandering and picnic. At the same time, Lake Te Anau is an year-round destination.

Sunny evenings make the summer season popular among tourists. For the Southland locals, the lake and surrounding region offer a popular summer getaway. Most of such locals also own holiday houses in the region. If you visit during the cooler months, you can easily find a slice of the lake for yourself.

Things to Do

In the region of Australasia, Lake Te Anau is the largest freshwater body. The lake looks stunning with three deep arms that spread like finders into Fiordland towards the west. Near the boat marina towards the north of the town, there’s a popular swimming area.

There are also beaches at Brod Bay and Dock Bay along the Kepler track, which runs for 5.6 km along the edge of the lake. You can reach them by walking or hop on from Te Anau on a Kepler water taxi.

The research and rescue team vouches for the fact that swimming in cold water has health benefits. A brilliant club is set up by them to teach cold water swimming at the Te Anau Lake. It has a marked training area between the Conservation Visitor Centre and the yacht club. Every 100 meters have white painted boulders.

For social reasons, this friendly club has been set up. Also, it recruits into the Search and Rescue team which helps people at the lake, the coastline and fiords.

Things to Note

Lake Te Anau is an ideal tourist spot for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Thanks to the accommodation options, restaurants and grocery store, most travelers can find everything they need at the towns nearby – Te Anau and Manapouri. Here are a few things to note before you visit Lake Te Anau –
  • Make sure you’re carrying hiking boots. You may enjoy exploring the mountain-biking and walking trails which are close to the lake.
  • If you’re planning a vacation and visit to Lake Te Anau between the months of November to March, make sure you book everything well in advance. There is a high chance of tours and accommodation getting sold out.
  • Even if your vehicle is self-contained, there is a restriction on overnight camping at the lake. You can only do it at designated campsites.
  • When you leave the lake, wash all gear, waders, kayaks and boats to prevent the spread of Didymo. Lake Te Anau is infamous for the presence of these invasive algae. Though not extremely harmful, you must take preventive measures to restrict its spreading.

How To Reach Lake Te Anau

  • If you drive from Invercargill or Queenstown, you can reach Lake Te Anau in approximately 2 hours.
  • Both routes snake through splendid scenery, offering an excellent road trip.
  • You can also catch one of the daily buses which operate between Te Anau and Milford, Dunedin, Invercargill and Queenstown.

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