Choose from 2 Fun Things to Do in Te Anau
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The Routeburn Track, with its hidden lakes, neck‐craning waterfalls and rugged alpine scenery, has been heralded as one of the world's best hikes in one of the world's best settings. While such lofty titles are hard to live up to, from the moment you leave your first muddy bootprint on this 19.5‐mile (32‐km) route, it's apparent this trail across the Southern Alps is truly something special. Fittingly, the three-day Routeburn Track is listed as one of New Zealand’s famous 'Great Walks,' which have better facilities and higher fees than other backcountry hikes.
While there are campground facilities in addition to huts, most hikers elect to sleep at the huts, which offer cooking facilities, beds and the chance to unwind. At its northern trailhead, the Routeburn track begins by Glenorchy and Mt Aspiring National Park before snaking over the spine of the mountains toward Fiordland National Park. Though the trail only ascends to 4,100 feet, the surrounding mountains tower 9,000 feet and are often beautifully snowcapped—which only adds to a landscape dotted by waterfalls and alpine lakes. Due to heavy snowfall in winter, the season for hiking the Routeburn Track is from the end of October to April, with reservations absolutely necessary at least a month in advance.
The Routeburn Track begins at the Routeburn Shelter, about 30 minutes north of Glenorchy. On the southern end it finishes at The Divide, which is about 90 minutes from Te Anau. Since the Routeburn Trail is a point‐to‐point track you’ll need to arrange transport before starting the trail, since the road distance between start and finish is approximately 200 miles. Hut reservations are $54/adult per night, and camping sites are $18/adult per night—with both options free to ages 17 and under.
Address: New Zealand
Admission: $54/night for huts; $18/night for camping
From $ 124
When visiting New Zealand’s Milford Sound, you’d be forgiven for driving straight through from Te Anau and simply just wanting to get there. After all—Milford Sound is one of the world’s most stunningly scenic areas, and it’s hard to bottle the excitable urge to get there as fast as you can. As it turns out, however, the journey to famous Milford Sound is all a part of the experience, and the Milford Road is lined with hikes, viewpoints, and scenic adventures. One of these stops is known as “The Chasm,” where wooden boardwalks weave through the rain forest amidst a canopy of ferns. After only a couple of minutes on the trail, the sound of waterfalls thundering in the distance gradually begins to get louder, until the Cleddau River is powerfully splashing beneath your feet. From the bridge overlooking The Chasm, you’ll notice a series of massive rocks that are riddled with oversized potholes, which have been naturally formed by water swirling in circles within the canyon. Over the course of thousands of years, the swirling water has created these smooth depressions and holes in the rocks, which only add to the impressive nature of this short, but worthwhile hike.
The Chasm is located halfway between the Homer Tunnel and the waters of Milford Sound. It’s about 1 hour and 35 minutes from Te Anau, and only 15 minutes from the end of the road that finishes in Milford Sound. In total, expect to spend about 20 minutes on the short, 400‐yard hike, and be on the lookout for mischievous kea (alpine parrots) that will happily steal your loose items.
Address: Milford Sound, New Zealand
From $ 115