Te Anau – Glow Worms Cave and Gateway to Fiordland National Park

Upon arrival in Christchurch, I stayed for one night, and then took a morning InterCity bus from the Christchurch bus interchange to Te Anau, which costs $30. The bus journey began at 7.45am, and arrived in the quiet town of Te Anau at 6.30pm, with a couple of coffee/toilet stops in between at Omaru and Dunedin. It was a long journey on the watch, but it really didn’t feel that long because of the beautiful sights along the way, and the half hour stops on between! Was quite happy to get a glimpse of those 2 towns I didn’t get to go. Omaru is famous for its penguins, and Dunedin basically reminded me of a larger, slightly more urban version of Akaroa.

Te Anau is popularly known as the gateway to Fiordland National Park, which was thus my ‘base’ for the Kepler Track great walk!

Following picture trail are taken from the stops along the way… I love the old school vibes of the small towns.

te anau Accommodation

Te Anau is a really quiet town. I stayed in YHA Te Anau, in a female dorm. I was pleasantly surprised to know so many of my bunk mates were either preparing to hike the Kepler track or have done it already. I was really happy to meet so many people who were equally excited about the hike! So basically the 2nd-5th day, I did the hike(with fantastic weather), and spent 2 nights after back in Te Anau.



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After the epic 4 days 3 nights hike, I switched hostel to the Te Anau Kiwi Holiday Park and Motels and had a nights’ stay there. I spent about 1.5 days in Te Anau exploring, and did a spontaneous cruise out to a nearby island, as well as a glow worm caves tour at night! Both were amazing. I just wished I’d time to go for the Milford sound cruise, which needed a full-day’s worth of time.

A pretty nice surprise about this second trip to NZ was about how much great food I’d got to try! First up was definitely at this chop house called ‘The Ranch’. I had a burger and oh man the seafood chowder here was really, really good. I had this straight after coming down from Mt Luxmore that morning, and had kind of overdid on my orders here… but still, no regrets. It was so good. The cosy antique-ish vibes of this little restaurant was a really nice and relaxing respite after the physically brutal (but amazing) days I’ve had before that.

I remember it was a quiet morning in Te Anau, after strolling along the little shophouses selling outdoor equipments, that I’d decided to look at the brochures for various day tours from Te Anau. Given that I had only half a day to spare, I’d decided to go on this day cruise out to Lake Tenau, which also included a small island hop. Turned out this was semi-private as there were only 4 of us on the tour! That was a really nice turn of events. We kind of had the entire boat to ourselves.

So we arrived back to the jetty at about noon time, and I had the rest of the day exploring the town again. Love the laid back vibes of the town!



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I had lunch here at the Olive Tree Cafe — a chicken chop with stir fried veggies, and a cider.

I wandered around after lunch and came across Fiordland Cinema, which was showing Ata Whenua, a beautifully made film showcasing Fiordland and its majestic landscapes. So given I had nothing planned, I went to book a ticket at 7pm, and hurridly went to get dinner at the Kepler restaurant, which is supposed to be famous for its seafood.

I ordered the crayfish and the clam chowder. To be honest, this was good, but I still really preferred the chowder from The Ranch!

So after the film ended at 8-ish, I decided to pop by Real Journeys to see what else is on for the night, and thankfully, there was one last tour to see the glow worms at 8pm! I immediately booked a ticket thinking it’s my last chance as it was my last night in Te Anau. The tour was so amazing. The glow worms up close looked like stars in outer space! For most part of the tour, we were on a boat which brought us through the glow worm caves. No phones or cameras were allowed. Any noise or light will make the worms ‘turn off’ their glow, so we had to remain really quiet as well. It was an amazing and unique experience.

Nevertheless, here are some photos of the journey to the glow worm caves! I really loved standing in the open deck. The winds that evening were really beastly. And I was crazy to be in shorts while everyone else were in thick jackets and pants. The merino wool socks saved my life! Haha.



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