We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Best Day Tramp in Te Anau/Milford area?

Which Te Anau hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
San Diego...
Level Contributor
293 posts
5 reviews
Save Topic
Best Day Tramp in Te Anau/Milford area?

OK locals, I'm looking for some advise. I am staying in Te Anau for a few days in April. I would like to spend a day going down to the Sound on the boat. I would like to spend the other two on day hikes.

There are so many tracks here that offer day hikes that I'm not sure which one to pick/omit.

What ones do you recommend for the active person and why?

Thanks! :-)


New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
28,297 posts
74 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Best Day Tramp in Te Anau/Milford area?

Hi FG :)

In no particular order;

Key Summit... the beginning of the Routeburn Track. Offers wonderful views at the top …govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/…

Glade House and Milford Track... it's a full day as you take the launch up the lake from Te Anau Downs, then walk along the beginning of the Milford Track. The walk is basically flat and very picturesque,running alongside the Clinton River. The return boat only runs through April 18th and should be booked in advance.

Mavora Lakes... some great tracks, though the real reason I love it is because it's one of the few places my dog is allowed in native bush. The access road is, I think, 30 or 40 km of gravel road, not far from Te Anau.

The Kepler Track... this one I haven't tried (no dogs allowed) but I've heard it's great …govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/…

San Diego...
Level Contributor
293 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Best Day Tramp in Te Anau/Milford area?

Thanks, Lakes, for your response. I will be leaving Te Anau on the 10th en route to Wanaka. So, no worries about me missing that return launch. ;-)

I will take a look at the links you provided. :-)


Level Contributor
156 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Best Day Tramp in Te Anau/Milford area?

Hi Fitgal

My husband and I just finished the Kepler Track yesterday, and are giving our weary legs a rest right now here in Te Anau. The Kepler Track was great though, what a beautiful part of the world!

As for day walks from Te Anau, you could do part of what is usually the last leg of the Kepler Track. Starting at a location called Rainbow Reach (about 25 minutes drive from Te Anau), you can walk through Beech Forest on flat terrain past some good scenery to Moturau Hut, one of the accommodation huts on the Kepler Track. It is a 1.5 hour walk from Rainbow Reach to Moturau Hut.

Moturau Hut is situated on Lake Manapouri, where there is a nice small beach and you can swim (if you don't mind a very cold dip!). Be sure to bring (and have applied) bug spray with a very high DEET concentration, as the sandflies there will eat you alive. I thought we had bad bugs in Florida where I am from, but these kiwi sandflies are truly vicious.

They don't seem to be present anywhere else on the track than at Moturau Hut, fortunately.

Carrying on from Moturau Hut, you can walk towards the Iris Burn Hut through more forest and a gorge, over tiny streams and with lots of inquisitive birds who will hop right up to you for closer inspection. We also saw some wildly colored mushrooms and more moss/lichen than I have ever seen in one place before. It makes you understand even more why they filmed the Lord of the Rings Trilogy here - it looks just like Middle Earth!

Total walking time from Moturau Hut to Iris Burn Hut is 5 to 6 hours, so you could just do an hour or two if you wished to walk back to Rainbow Reach on the same day.

The Rainbow Reach to Moturau Hut trail is doable in good walking shoes, but boots will come in handy if you carry on from Moturau Hut towards Iris Burn Hut, as the track is quite muddy in places. There is also a slippery section of the track near the gorge where hiking boots will help to literally keep you on your feet.

This part of the Kepler Track is all fairly flat and easygoing, so you might choose it as a more relaxing walk. The walks mentioned by Wanaka Lakes above may offer more dramatic views and climbs, but I thought I would let you and others know about the existence of the Kepler walk.

Just in case you were considering doing the entire Kepler Track - which also has alpine sections, a limestone cave, waterfall and what must be an enchanted forest - I would suggest you do NOT start from the Rainbow Reach end, but rather start from the Control Gates on Lake Te Anau towards Luxmore Hut. Otherwise you will have a very long and difficult slog up hours of switchbacks on the second day.

You can also rent hiking gear in Te Anau if you need walking poles or any other gear. There are two shops on the main street in Te Anau that rent gear - Outside Sports and another one I believe. I would avoid Bev's Gear Hire - we used her and she was extremely unpleasant and unprofessional to deal with. But she is the only bad encounter we have had in all of NZ - everyone here has been really friendly.

Also, if you do not have a rental car, you can use a shuttle bus service called Tracknet to take you from Te Anau to the start/end of the Kepler, Routeburn and Milford Tracks. Their website is:


Happy hiking!

Destination Expert
for Western Australia
Level Contributor
3,405 posts
283 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Best Day Tramp in Te Anau/Milford area?

I've done most of the walks mentioned previously. The Routeburn to Key Summit was a particular highlight. The Milford day walk was also a good one, but if I had to choose between the two, I'd pick the Routeburn to Key Summit. Spectacular views that I will never forget.

5. Re: Best Day Tramp in Te Anau/Milford area?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 5:18 pm, October 17, 2009