Lake Te Anau

An early European explorer described Fiordland as "utterly useless except for mountaineers", and that's why it's still so pristine.

Lake Te Anau is the largest of the southern glacial lakes, covering an area of 344 square kilometres. The main body of the lake runs north-south and three large fiords reach out from its western side - these arms are called North Fiord, Middle Fiord and South Fiord. Rolling hill country characterises the eastern side of the lake; the western side is a magnificent wilderness of forest and mountains - the Kepler and Murchison Ranges rise to around 1700 metres above sea level.

Most of Lake Te Anau is within the boundaries of Fiordland National Park and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site. Of the two settlements on the shores of the lake, the township of Te Anau is the largest. Here you'll find operators who can take you cruising or kayaking on the lake. You can also visit the Te Ana-au glowworm caves, which are still geologically active.

To see some of the endangered bird species that live in Fiordland, visit the local wildlife centre. Takahe, weka, parakeets, tui, kea, kaka and wood pigeons thrive in this Department of Conservation sanctuary.