Milford Sound, Te Anau and Manapouri

A couple of years ago we made a trip down to Te Anau and Milford Sound.  This time we visited Manapouri with a quick visit to Te Anau.

Te Anau

Te Anau is the gateway to the Milford Sound.  Instead of a bus tour, we stayed two nights in Te Anau and drove out to Milford Sound.  Te Anau is a small, yet busy town.  Our timing at Te Anau and Milford Sounds gave us not so brilliant weather.  Though still managed to walk along Lake Te Anau in the early morning.

While we don’t normally go out for breakfast, we decided to when we stayed in Manapouri.  We drove to Te Anau and had breakfast at the Bailiez Cafe & Bar.  It was a lovely place though not as busy as some cafes.

View from Bailiez Cafe & Bar while having breakfast
View from Bailiez Cafe & Bar while having breakfast

Milford Sound

While the drive is less than two hours from Te Anau, it took us a lot longer as we made several stops along the way.  It is a busy road with plenty of self-drive tourists and tour buses.  Fortunately, at Milford Sound there are several large parking areas.  There are plenty of cruises available and we were able to get a discounted tour by booking in advance.  There were not many other people on the boat cruise with us, so we had plenty of space to ourselves.

The cruise was excellent and the views were spectacular even with the rain.  It was worth the drive out there.  Hopefully, once we have our own mobile home, we can stop out there for a night or two.  There are many camping spots along Milford Road.

Milford Sound Boat Cruise
Milford Sound Boat Cruise

Homer Tunnel

On the way to Milford Sound, you need to drive through the Homer Tunnel.  While the idea of this tunnel was proposed by William Henry Homer in 1889, construction did not begin until 1935.  So, eight men with pick axes, shoves and wheelbarrows started work on this rock wall.  Though it did take 20 years for it to be completed.  The Homer Tunnel is considered a major feat of engineering and is very impressive to see in person.

Homer Tunnel
Homer Tunnel

The Chasm

Not far from the Homer Tunnel is The Chasm.  There is plenty of area for parking and the walkway is not far from the carpark.  The track is through native forest and is an easy walk.  Here you can admire the small waterfalls and the way the rocks have been sculptured over time.  This is a good area to stop, stretch your legs and enjoy nature at its best.

The Chasm
The Chasm

Te Anau Bird Sanctuary

Heading back to Manapouri after our breakfast we came across the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary.  It is located on the shores of Lake Te Anau with easy access from the road.  While there is no admission cost, visitors are encouraged to make a donation.

Birds to see include; Takahe, Kaka, Kereru, Morepork as well as Paradise Shelducks.  They are in their own areas and each area has an information board.  Throughout the sanctuary there are seats and picnic tables so is a great spot to relax and enjoy the scenery.

Duck Pond at the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary
Duck Pond at the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary

Manapouri

As we had stayed in Te Anau on our previous visit, we decided this time to stay in Manapouri as we had never been here before.  Manapouri is only a 20 minute drive from Te Anau.  It is also the gateway to Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound.  However, this time we didn’t take any boat cruises.  Maybe that will be on our agenda next time.

We stayed at the Manapouri Lake View Motor Inn which had lovely Lake Manapouri views.  Again the weather wasn’t the best for our visit, however we did get a little bit of sunshine.  Manapouri is a lot smaller than Te Anau and our preference for our next visit would be Te Anau.

View from the Manapouri Lakeview Cafe and Bar
View from the Manapouri Lakeview Cafe and Bar

Old Coach Road Walk

The Old Coach Road Walk takes you from Pearl Harbour to Fraser’s Beach.  Some of the walk is inland though eventually it takes you onto Lake Manapouri.  It’s a relatively easy 20 minute walk.  However, if you’re like us and stop to take photos or admire the view, it will take longer.

View from Old Coast Road Walk
View from Old Coast Road Walk

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