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Te Anau and Milford Sound, New Zealand – What to do and Where to Stay

Continuing on the review of all things good in the south island of New Zealand I have outlined some of the best things to do an see in and around Te Anau and Milford Sound. The Drive from Dunedin to Milford Sound has a few areas of interest. Firstly, if you are looking for a spot along Highway 1 to stop and stretch the legs and grab a bite to eat, Gore, is the place. Strange name but it’s a nice town with plenty of cafés to help you on your way. Get back on the road along highway 94 and you will have stunning scenery all the way to Te Anau (watch out for the sharp right turn just after Lumsden which continues highway 94). One nice stopping point is a place called The Key which is about 35km (25 mins) after Mossburn. This area has stunning views of Mount Hamilton. Te Anau is then only 20 minutes from this point.
Mount Hamilton Panorama from The Key - Near Te Anau, New Zealand

Mount Hamilton Panorama from The Key – Near Te Anau, New Zealand

Te Anau is a lovely little town, with a great character. There are plenty of accommodation options in Te Anau but by far the best place to stay in Te Anau is Te Anau Lodge located on 52 Howden St, Te Anau, this former nuns home is now a fantastic accommodation option. We called George, the owner, from Dunedin , having found it on TripAdvisor and arranged our accommodation – very friendly and helpful.
Te Anau Lodge, Te Anau, New Zealand - The Best Accommodation in Te Anau New Zealand

Te Anau Lodge – Excellent Accommodation in Te Anau

On arrival at Te Anau Lodge we were given a tour of the house and it’s facilities. The view alone was worth staying here for. It is a stunning property, very clean and very well managed. Hard to believe it’s not your home when you stay here. Rooms are bright and airy with great facilities. The staff are so helpful and nice. Breakfasts include a buffet area with cereals and fruit plus a hot option is also available cooked to order by George himself. We stayed here two nights and leaving this sublime spot was very difficult. The Te Anau lodge was one of the highlights of our trip. (Only for the TripAdvisor iPhone app we may never have found it!) While in Te Anau we did some trips. Glow Worm caves are located on the lake and trips can be arranged at the lakefront marina. The glow worm caves are stunning if you have never seen them before. Further afield is Milford Sound. It’s a bit of a drive but the scenery along the way is stunning – lucky if you get there at all with all the scenic points and at one point you drive through a mountain tunnel. Leave early in the morning around 8am to avoid the coach busses coming from Queenstown (also speeds at some points drop to 25kph so you have to take it handy). You will also get morning mists if lucky. A “MUST SEE” are the Reflective Lakes which mirror the mountains in the water. An amazing effect. (see some of the images at the foot of this blog post) On arriving at Milford Sound you have many options including cruises on the sound, or scenic flights. We decided to take a cruise which lasts around 90minutes. You get to see waterfalls, the vast cliffs which surround the sound plus if lucky seals and dolphins. The Te Anau and Milford Sound area are very scenic and 2 days would be a minimum stay in this area in order to see everything. Next Stop… Queenstown.
Reflective Lakes on the Way to Milford Sound

Reflective Lakes on the Way to Milford Sound

Massive Waterfall in Milford Sound - to the right of the falls you can see one of the cruise ships.

Massive Waterfall in Milford Sound – to the right of the falls you can see one of the cruise ships.