Ringed by snowcapped peaks, the gateway town to Fiordland, TE ANAU (pronounced Teh AHN-ow), stretches along the shores of its eponymous lake, one of New Zealand’s grandest and deepest. To the west, the lake’s watery fingers claw deep into bush-cloaked mountains so remote that their most celebrated inhabitant, the takahe, was thought extinct for half a century. Civilization of sorts can be found on the lake’s eastern side, home to a population of under 2000.
The main way-station on the route to Milford Sound, Te Anau is an ideal base and recuperation spot for the numerous tramps, including several of the most famous and worthwhile in the country. Top of most people’s list is the Milford Track, which starts at the head of the lake, while the Kepler Track starts closer to town.