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- 27 May 2020, 3 nights
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Te Anau has plenty to attract nature lovers. The town makes an ideal base for visiting Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound on New Zealand's South Island, surrounded by breathtaking glaciers and waterfalls. The town has Lake Te Anau on one side and mountains on the other, so it's the starting point for a whole range of long (and short) hiking trails. It also has plenty of incredible wildlife to spot, like the endangered, flightless takahē birds.
Hostels in Te Anau make the most of the rural scenery and outdoorsy spirit with lakefront views and outdoor spaces. Many have gardens where you can listen to native birds singing. Fire up the communal barbecue and season a tasty dinner with fresh herbs from the garden. Choose from a Te Anau hostel in a cosy low-rise home, choose a cabin by the lake or pitch your tent and sleep under the stars.
The centre of Te Anau town is tiny, with a small cluster of shops and restaurants between Milford Crescent and Town Centre road. Although it's compact, it has a variety of places to eat including pizza, Chinese, Indian and fried local seafood. Head to Lakefront Drive for views across Milford Sound. A 20-minute drive south will lead you to the town of Manapouri on the shores of Lake Manapouri. It's the ideal starting point for a trip to Doubtful Sound, where you can see tumbling waterfalls up to 600m high.
People mainly visit Te Anau for its easy access to some of New Zealand's most beautiful scenery. It's the place to start hiking the Kepler Track, a 60km circular route that takes in glaciers, waterfalls and lush native forest. Take a boat trip through the Te Ana-au caves to see glowworms shimmering in the darkness. You can also go sea kayaking in Milford Sound, where you might spot fur seals, Fiordland crested penguins and bottlenose dolphins.
Queenstown Airport is the nearest international airport to Te Anau. A 20-minute bus ride will take you into Queenstown, where you can catch a bus to Te Anau. The journey takes about 2.5 hours. The InterCity bus stop is just on the edge of the town centre, so most of the hostels are within walking distance. Because the ground is fairly flat, it's easy to get around by foot or by bike for longer trips. There's car rental if you want to explore the wider area solo, or you can join an organised tour.