Known for its spectacular waterfalls, imposing mountain views and deep blue lakes, this slice of New Zealand's most famous pristine wilderness is home to a number of cool experiences making it the perfect family holiday destination. Find out about the activities that will thrill, excite, educate, and inspire your family as well as some exquisite food options. This iconic holiday spot is sure to win your heart with its excellent hideaways, breath-taking vistas, and friendly local characters.
The picturesque lakeside township of Te Anau is an ideal base for your epic family adventure. Take your pick of world class experiences including lake cruises, glow worm caves, jet boating or even a glimpse of the rare, flightless takahē at Punanga Manu o Te Anau, Te Anau’s Bird Sanctuary. Te Anau has plenty of activities for an active family, you can play mini golf, ride a quadricycle or spider bike along the waterfront or cruise around on a two-person pedal swan to explore the majestic lake - excellent fun and stimulation for the whole family! If you still have energy and are keen to cover greater distances, the Lake2Lake cycle trail that links Te Anau with Manapouri along the banks of the scenic Waiau River is another great pedalling option.
Te Anau has a variety of family friendly dining options. Whether you are looking for a quick bite from the gourmet food truck ‘Bao Now’, you plan to dine in and relax at the Fat Duck, or you are going to The Ranch Bar & Grill for the impressive kids' menu and activities to keep them entertained, you are sure to find something to suit you in Te Anau.
Te Anau Glowworm Caves
As you sail across the shimmering Lake Te Anau, it's hard to imagine that underneath the surface of the mountains, a hidden maze of limestone passages filled with sculpted rock, whirlpools and roaring underground waterfalls exists. Take a tour into this mysterious underground world where water rushes through caves, before drifting in silent darkness beneath the luminous shimmer of glowworms. This is one of New Zealand's most leisurely glow worm excursions, which allows plenty of time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness so that the ambiance of hundreds of tiny glow worms can be fully appreciated. This is the stuff that fairylands and daydreams are made of so if you are a kid, or just a kid at heart, we know you are absolutely going to love it.
Fiordland Climbing Wall
Featuring nearly 300 square meters of climbing terrain which caters to all abilities and ages of climbers, the Fiordland Climbing Wall is the perfect indoor family activity to burn off some energy with some light-hearted family competition. There are rad routes for all abilities. 13 top-ropes, 3 auto-belays, and a mini-lead cave (as well as lead-able terrain throughout) making this a great place to learn how to climb or hone your skills.
Fiordland Jet is a one-of-a-kind jet boating adventure providing action packed, gripping and adrenaline inducing good times. Know you are alive with two hours of entertainment and a lifetime of unforgettable memories as you tour New Zealand's Fiordland National Park. What a thrilling way to experience the region and gain some local insights with your friendly driver pointing out all the major sights throughout the journey whilst you hold on tight and lap up the magnificent scenery.
Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre
No trip to Fiordland is complete without visiting the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre. Finalise your itinerary or catch a documentary, engage with the interactive displays, native bird park, or grab a souvenir from the conservation gift shop. The whole family will have a wonderful time while learning about this incredible region... and best of all it's free! The experienced, friendly team will ensure that you get the most out of your visit to Fiordland, so pop in to learn about everything from geology to history, flora and fauna and family-friendly day hikes.
Te Anau Bird Sanctuary Punanga Manu o Te Anau
Located on the bank of Lake Te Anau, the Sanctuary is a fantastic location to take the family as it allows you to see some of New Zealand's rare birdlife. The Bird Sanctuary's headliners are the flightless Takahē and seeing these prehistoric-looking birds is a must-do for visitors to Fiordland. Enjoy close-up views of Kākā, the magnificent native forest parrots, Kererū, New Zealand's magnificent wood pigeons and the Tūī with their unique white neck tufts. In the waterfowl enclosure you are sure to spot a number of local and international favourites including Mallard Ducks and Canadian Geese.
If the weather is a bit dreary or you just want a bit of down time, pop into the Fiordland Cinema to see a screening of Ata Whenua, a beautifully produced movie that takes you to parts of the Fiordland National Park that you would otherwise never see. Sink into your comfy chair with hot chocolate or bowl of fries and enjoy this stunning scenic film. The cinema also regularly screens the latest family flicks.
Take the family on an unforgettable trip to Milford Sound Piopiotahi. Extraordinary waterfalls, Bottlenose dolphins, New Zealand fur seals and Fiordland crested penguins can be viewed up close on a day cruise.
Your Milford Sound tour would be incomplete without a visit to the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory. The only floating underwater observatory in New Zealand, this is a one-of-a-kind, engaging learning experience. With cool displays and authentic artefacts, learn about Milford Sound's unique ecology. Descend 10 metres below the surface into a wide observation room and be mesmerised by the view; see the unusual black coral and colourful marine animals without getting wet. Whatever your age, the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory definitely has the wow factor - an exhilarating experience not to be missed!
Kepler Alpacas Mountain Farm
Pop into Kepler Alpacas Mountain Farm for an interactive and educational farm tour, the team will show you around and introduce you to the lovely, quirky alpacas who love being fed by hand and getting an Instagram worthy selfie! Become best friends with these magnificent creatures before learning even more about them in the Wild Wool Gallery, where you can see and touch processed alpaca fibre, learn about the characteristics of alpaca fleece, and gain an insight into a number of New Zealand farming practises.
Why not pay a visit over the school holidays and take advantage of some of the ‘Kids Go Free’ promotions? Many tourism operators in Fiordland offer deals during the school holidays, making it the perfect time to take the family on an affordable holiday. Delight the youngsters with a day trip to the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves or Doubtful Sound and give them the unforgettable experience of seeing some of the world's most stunning landscapes.