Our Top Local Must-Do’s

Off
Milford, Routeburn and Kepler Track

We feel incredibly privileged to live in such a unique and beautiful part of New Zealand (if not the world!). Fiordland and the Southern Lakes are an outdoor paradise, and there are loads of places and attractions to discover and explore.

Visit Fiordland is a wealth of information when it comes to everything there is to see and do in Fiordland, Destination Queenstown and the Glenorchy Community website have more info on Glenorchy, but we’ve also put together a list of our favourites places.

TE ANAU & FIORDLAND

SEE & DO

Milford Sound
  • Milford Sound
    Stay a little longer, overnight at Milford Lodge and take a day cruise, or combine your cruise with accommodation and stay onboard one of the overnight boats to wake up on the water.

    Take a walk around the foreshore and see if you can find the Milford Swing – top Fiordland photo stop!

    TIP: If you’ve already visited Milford or prefer to go off-the-beaten-path, Doubtful Sound is an equally beautiful wilderness experience and an epic day trip.
  • Te Anau Glowworm Caves
    Cruise from Te Anau to a mysterious underground world with a guided cave tour before drifting in the darkness beneath hundreds of glowworms. 

  • Ata Whenua – Shadowland
    See Fiordland from above from the comfort of Fiordland Cinema, with a glass of Fiordland Pinot and a traditional Southland cheese roll in hand!

  • Faith in Fiordland
    Cruise the hidden reaches of Lake Te Anau aboard the historic ‘Faith’. Morning, afternoon & evening cruises complete with canapes, refreshments, and a maximum of 16 guests – sounds like an ideal way to celebrate ticking off a Great Walk!

  • Bike the Lake2Lake Trail
    Hire a bike and ride the 18km trail that links Te Anau with Lake Manapouri.

EAT & DRINK

  • The Redcliff Cafe & Bar
    A local favourite with great food & wine and live music in the beer garden. We definitely recommend visiting before or after your Great Walk.

  • Sandfly Cafe
    The best coffee in Te Anau! Enough said.

  • Miles Better Pies
    Open from 6 am-ish (pie for breakfast, anyone?) Miles Pies sell thousands of delicious pies every day!

WALK

As you might be able to tell, we’re big fans of hiking in all shapes and sizes, so here are a few of our favourite shorter walks.

Lake Marian, Fiordland
  • Kepler Track
    Along with the traditional 3-4 day Great Walk, the Kepler also has a few shorter options:

    1. Take a water taxi from Te Anau to Brod Bay, walk up to Luxmore Hut and heli back or visa versa.

    2. Water taxi from Te Anau to Brod Bay and stroll back to town along the edge of the lake.

    3. Start at Rainbow Reach, walk up the Waiau River and through the forest to Motorau Hut on Lake Manapouri. Then either walk back along the same route, or take a jet boat transfer back to Rainbow Reach.

  • Key Summit Track
    Experience a slice of the Routeburn Track! At 3.4km one way with stunning views and alpine tarns, it’s a perfect walk to combine with a trip to Milford Sound.

  • Lake Marian Track
    This beautiful alpine lake, located in a stunning hanging valley, is 3.1km/3 hours (return via the same track). Access is from Hollyford Road, off Milford Road, on the way to Milford Sound.

  • Lake Gunn
    Perfect for a short nature walk 1.4km loop enroute to/from Milford or the Routeburn Track.

  • Milford Track Day Walk
    You can experience Milford Track for a day’s walk from Milford Sound. Catch the boat from Deep Water Basin (Milford Sound) to Sandfly Point and walk to Giant Gate Falls. Then head back to Sandfly Point along the same track to catch the boat back to Deep Water Basic. The walking part is an easy 3-4 hours return and perfect for the whole family.

See more day walks in Fiordland here.


MUST-DO’S IN GLENORCHY

SEE & DO

Paradise
  • Paradise
    Just 20 minutes outside of Glenorchy lies ‘Paradise’ – a place of true natural beauty. Along with the iconic Paradise sign, there’s Paradise Trust – a historic rustic accommodation right in the wilderness, which also has a couple of lovely nature walks on the property and, for a small donation, you can do as a day visitor.

  • Dart River Adventures
    Head deep into the heart of Mt Aspiring National Park on a jet boat or Funyak (inflatable kayak). The scenery will make your heart stop in awe, as will the thrill of zipping up the Dart River in a jet boat!

  • Paradise Ziplines
    Zip through 1000 metres of pristine wilderness, following an alpine river and through a native beech forest on an 8-zipline course.

  • Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat
    TIME Magazine named Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat in the World’s 100 Greatest Places of 2019, and when you visit – you’ll see why. As New Zealand’s first Net Positive energy visitor destination, they’ve got a full range of accommodation packages to relax, unwind and explore the Glenorchy area. Added bonus – all profits benefit the Glenorchy Community Trust.

EAT & DRINK

  • Mrs Woolly’s General Store
    Coffee, gourmet pies, organic product, home-baked treats, giant gelato (definitely try this after a big day tramping!), and self-cook food hampers, Mrs Woolly’s has it all! 

  • Kinloch Wilderness Retreat
    Dine with a view! Historic Kinloch is a destination in its own right and only a 30-minute drive from Glenorchy. Along with multiple accommodation options, they provide wholesome breakfast, lunch, and dinner (check their website for seasonal opening days/times), with a side of nature! Relax in the cozy restaurant or sunny terrace with views of the lake and back to Glenorchy.

  • The GYC
    The GYC (Glenorchy Cafe & Bar) is a local favourite right in the heart of town. Offering delicious treats from the cabinet, great coffee, bar, and delicious menu – head down after your walk, grab a seat in the sun, and enjoy the chilled atmosphere!

WALK

Earnslaw Burn.
  • Lake Sylvan
    A 15-minute drive from the Routeburn Shelter, the Lake Sylvan track is a gorgeous, easy and undulating loop that leads through old moraine river terraces and red beech forest to Lake Sylvan itself. Allow a 30-minute drive from Glenorchy (one-way) and 1 hour 30 minutes for a leisurely loop.

  • Whakaari Conservation Area/Mt Judah
    Discover historic miners’ huts and amazing views! There are several walks to choose from depending on how far you want to go ranging from 45 minutes to overnight tramps staying in the historic huts.

  • Earnslaw Burn
    Feel the burn! This advanced tramping track is suitable for a day mission or overnight camping trip. It’s worth the slog to see the impressive icefall and waterfalls on Mt Earnslaw. Access is 20 minutes from Glenorchy on Paradise Road.

  • Routeburn Track
    Like the Kepler Track, there are loads of ways to experience a slice of the Routeburn Track – it all depends on how much time (and energy!) you’ve got! These suggestions are based on starting/finishing from the Routeburn Shelter on the Glenorchy side of the track.

    1. For a short family-friendly walk, do the Routeburn Nature Walk – a flat, easy walk through the forest. About 45 minutes return.

    2. Pack a picnic lunch and walk up to Routeburn Flats Hut. Head back out along the same route back to Routeburn Shelter. Allow 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours each way.

    3. Keep heading up the hill from Routeburn Flats until you reach the highest point on the track – the Harris Saddle. 

    4. Plan and tackle the track in one day, from start to finish. It’s what our drivers do to relocate your car! 33kms total and an epic day – you’ll earn that cold beverage at the end of it for sure.

See a complete list of walking tracks at the Head of Lake Wakatipu.


Well, there you have it! Our suggestions for what else you should see and do in our backyard. Of course, there are tons more and if you need more ideas – get in touch.

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