I arrived late in the evening after my 5.5 hours bus ride from Dunedin. The bus ride was great, the Wi-Fi worked, not enough to stream but enough for messaging, so good note for anyone that plans to take Intercity Buses. After arriving I checked into my first Hostel ever, overall pleasant and clean and worth the cost to have a private room. Did a quick walk around the city center and started to plan my adventure for tomorrow.
The hostel was a YHA and costs per night NZD 85 (private room), if you have a membership (Worth it) it is 10% off.
At the time of writing this post NZD 1 = USD 0.65.
Day 1 – Kepler Track 04.21.2019
Woke up early and met up with Arpine again, we decided to hike a portion of the Kepler Track. This is a very popular hiking trek to take in New Zealand. A lot of people will hike the whole track (4 days) where they stop and camp along the way. There are cabins along the track, but they are expensive. Some people even pay to have their bags lifted by helicopter to the first cabin.
To start it’s a 2-hour walk around the lake to the main trail, otherwise, you can take a water taxi across Lake Te Anau. For round trip water tax, it was NZD 50, which cuts about 4 hours of walking round trip. To start on my hike, we leave the beach and go into a forest that reminds me a lot of Jurassic Park, so lush and green and filled with ferns. We were told 4.5 hours to the top hut (first cabin) which also has caves you can enter.
After the initial 30 minutes in the forest, the hike gets kind of boring, there is only one view out of the bush line until you get to the top, but once you arrive at the top the views are excellent.
Once I got back from the hike I was looking for stuff to do the next day, I had initially planned two days in Te Anau because it rains often and had planned to have a “rainy day” to make sure I could get a good hike in. Since the weather was on my side, and the next day was supposed to be near to perfect weather, I decided I would do the Doubtful Sound Cruise. I looked up the cost and it was NZD 250. I decided this wasn’t worth it. This is a lie it is worth it.
Later that evening I went to Go Orange Travel Company there and as luck would have it, someone canceled their tour for tomorrow. With the cancelation they were offering a discount for last-minute bookings, I decided to go for NZD 200.I finished the night at Ristorante Pizzeria Paradiso, great Pizza!
Day 2 – Doubtful Sound 04.22.2019
Starting at 9 AM I took a 20-minute shuttle to Manapouri. Followed by a 1-hour cruise across Lake Manapouri to the West Arm. The cruise is nice and relaxing since the lake is very calm. It was pretty cloudy in the morning so I didn’t get the best photos.
Arriving across the lake, we had a one-hour bus ride (a very nice coach bus) across Fiordland National Park. This was a beautiful bus ride, very scenic, saw a few waterfalls and great views of the surrounding mountains and Forrest. At the top of the mountain on our drive down to the cover for Doubtful Sound, we had a moment to take in all the scenery, looking over Doubtful Sound.
Once our cruise started I met a couple from Germany, Sabrina & Daniel, very lovely people, and hope to connect with them again someday. As the cruise began, it was a lot to take in, the views are stunning and it’s so breathtaking. The part that blows my mind is this just untouched land by humans and reminds me how beautiful earth really can be.
The weather was amazing, but definitely, without rain, we were short on waterfalls, but that still doesn’t stop the scenery from being anything less than perfection.
Day 3 – Milford Sound & Fiordland National Park 04.23.2019
Starting the morning very early, I was able to get a few hours in for work and study and then left my hostel at 10 AM for my trip off to Milford Sound. Milford Sound is the whole reason I came to visit Te Anau. Milford Sound is considered the 8th wonder of the world. After my trip to Milford Sound, I am on my way to my favorite place on Earth, Queenstown.
The tour was with Real Journey, the trip starts through the National Park, we stopped four times to get some amazing photos of the national park. The ride was about 3 hours, using an hour to take stops. The biggest reason why I chose Real Journey was they allow you to leave from Te Anau and take the bus to Queenstown for a little extra money, which saves about 6 hours of drive time if you were to drive back to Te Anau and take Intercity.
Once arrived at Milford Sound we boarding the cruise ship and set sail for our journey out to the Tasman Sea, just like at Doubtful Sound. Beautiful scenery throughout the whole trip, a full-service bar available for purchase, and food and snacks, which wasn’t available on the Doubtful Sound tour. We had a full sunny day, which is rare at Milford sound, they get about 200+ days of rain a year and up to 7 meters of rain mind-blowing.
They will remind you many times from the second you consider purchasing to the time you finish your cruise that Milford Sound is more beautiful when it rains because the landscape and cliffs are covered in waterfalls, but I was still able to see about 10 and two big ones, that were over 150 meters high (3 times the size of Niagara Falls). I will be back to check this out again hopefully when it rains.
It’s very refreshing to go to a place on earth that hasn’t been touched by humans, breathtaking. This was something I will never forget. I enjoyed my stay in Te Anau, but wouldn’t recommend more than a day or two unless you’re planning to hike the full Kepler Track.
Wondering if you should do Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound, read my full review and comparison here. A short video of both Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound.
Off to Queenstown, Cheers!