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The small town of Te Anau, tucked away on the southern end of Lake Te Anau, is often referred to as the “Gateway to Milford Sound.” However, Milford Sound isn’t the only tourist destination you can visit from the town. You can actually see a few of the country’s other outstanding outdoor experiences!
From Te Anau, you can explore the wilderness of Fiordland National Park, go trekking on the Routeburn, Kepler, and Milford Tracks, and catch some fish in Lake Te Anau. You also shouldn’t miss taking photos with the towering mountains as your backdrop as the landscape here is easily one of the most majestic in the country.
Being a popular stepping-off point, the town hosts a varied range of accommodations for all budgets. If you’re still undecided about where to stay in Te Anau, I’m here to help!
In this blog, I’ll walk you through two of the best areas to look for hotels, along with some of the recommendations. Let’s dive in!
The Best Areas to Stay in Te Anau, New Zealand
Te Anau is a rather tiny town. It’s so small that visitors coming to town only have two areas to stay in: right in the town center or on the outskirts of town.
Right in the town center is the perfect choice if you want to stay closer to the amenities, especially when you don’t have your own car to get around. Meanwhile, the outskirts is the ideal area if you’re into nature and want to get better views of the lake and the mountains.
For a more detailed breakdown of the best hotels in these two areas, keep reading.
Staying Te Anau Town
While Te Anau is a pretty small town, there are lots of amenities available. You have grocery stores, outdoor gear shops, and souvenir shops left and right. You have a lot of choices when it comes to restaurants in Te Anau, too.
Since many tourists also come to Te Anau to start their Fiordland adventure, a variety of accommodation options have sprung up around town. There are high-end hotels, bed and breakfasts, and charming lodges.
However, don’t expect much in terms of views unless you stay right on the lakeshore.
Pros to staying in Te Anau Town:
- Plenty of lodging options
- Dining places everywhere
- Very family-friendly, with numerous things for kids to do
Cons to staying in Te Anau Town:
- Not many super luxurious places
- Not as quiet or surrounded by nature
- Only some hotels offer lake views
5 BEST Hotels in Te Anau
$$$ – Radfords on the Lake – Most Luxurious Hotel
A lakefront retreat that’s just a few minutes’ walk from the town center, the five-star Radfords on the Lake is one of the best hotels in Te Anau for a luxurious vacation. The on-site facilities here aren’t really much as you only have e-bike storage, boat parking, and laundry facilities, but the rooms are nothing short of lavish!
As soon as you wake up in your spacious apartment, you’ll be greeted with a magnificent view of Lake Te Anau and the mountains of Fiordland National Park. All of the units are also tastefully furnished with all the conveniences to make your stay pleasant. There’s a kitchenette with plunger coffee and hot chocolate, Sky TV, and free Wi-Fi.
Did I mention that every stay also comes with complimentary use of two mountain bikes? This makes it easy to go to and from the town. You would surely love biking along the lake, too.
Radfords on the Lake offers four room configurations: Studio, 1-Bedroom Superior Suite, 1-Bedroom Wheelchair Accessible Suite, and 2-Bedroom Apartment. Nightly rates start at $689 NZD (in peak season).
You can check availability, prices, and book Radfords on the Lake online.
$$ – Tasman Holiday Parks – Mid-range Lakefront Hotel
Tasman Holiday Parks is a quick walk away from the pristine Lake Te Anau and about a five-minute stroll to the town center. It’s a small locally owned property, but despite its size, it has several amenities on-site to cater to your needs.
There’s an outdoor dining and picnic area in the garden, complete with a gas BBQ that’s free to use. You can also find a hot tub, sauna, and coin laundry here too. If you’re planning to go exploring, Edgewater can help you book Milford Sound tours and activities in the area and will happily recommend the best sights to see in Te Anau. Speaking of which, they have complimentary bike hire, in case you’re up for a quick ride to the town center.
Whether you’re traveling solo or with your family, the park has a room for you. Pick from chalets, studios, and self-contained apartments. The chalets and studios will have shared access to the bathroom facilities building.
A night’s stay at Tasman costs between $129 NZD and $419 NZD. You can check availability and book Tasman Holiday Parks online to secure your stay in Te Anau.
$$ – Alpine View Motel – Affordable Rooms and Apartments
On a budget but still want to stay somewhere nice? Alpine View Motel is easily one of the best choices. Sitting just a hundred meters away from the lakeshore, the property is a decent stay for guests who do not want to overspend while in town.
You can find several amenities here for your convenience, including car and boat parking, a covered BBQ area, and a huge lawn, where you can enjoy some outdoor activities. If you’re bringing kids, I’m sure they’ll enjoy the castle adventure playground right on the property.
There isn’t a single room type in Alpine View, so finding what fits your budget is a piece of cake. You can book something as small as a studio room to as large as a three-bedroom unit. Unlike other motels, the accommodations in Alpine View are actually very homey and complete with kitchen facilities, TV (with Netflix and Disney+!), and Wi-Fi.
If you want a more elevated stay, make sure to have the Lakeview Upstairs Studio booked. This sleeps up to two people, and since it’s on the upper floor, you’ll be treated to a partial view of the lake from your private balcony.
Staying a night at Alpine View costs as low as $122 NZD. Check prices and availability of Alpine View Motel online here.
Related Read: Since you’ll likely be headed to Milford Sound, read my honest review on if Milford Sound is worth it!
$ – Te Anau Lakeview Kiwi Holiday Park & Motels – Cheap Camping and Cabins
For budget-friendly camping and cabins, Te Anau Lakeview Kiwi Holiday Park & Motels is one of my go-to Te Anau hotels. This family-owned holiday park is just ten minutes on foot from the town center and puts you close to Fiordland National Park Visitors Center, Te Anau Bird Sanctuary, and Steamers Beach.
While cheap, the holiday park has everything you would ever need, so much that you won’t even need to head to the town. There is an on-site cafe called Muncheese, where you can get American-style takeaways. If you’re in the mood to cook, just head to the well-equipped communal kitchen. Feel free to also spend a lazy afternoon just watching TV in the lounge or dipping in the for-hire jacuzzi.
Other facilities you can find on-site include coin-operated washing machines, a drying room, and a playground.
The holiday park offers a wide variety of accommodations, so I’m sure you’ll find something here that fits your budget. For the rooms, you have a choice between Marakura Deluxe Motels, Family and Studio Motels, Ensuite Rooms, Backpackers and Single Private Rooms, and Cabins. Most of the rooms have a kitchen/kitchenette, dishwasher, Wi-Fi, TV, work desk, and an outdoor patio area to enjoy the landscape.
There are also camping sites on the property for your motorhomes or caravans. Just pick between the powered and non-powered areas. Feel free to pitch your tent here, too.
The rates at this holiday park start at $66 NZD for the non-powered camping site, $72 NZD for the powered ones, $99 NZD for a bed in the dorm, and $109 NZD for the cabins. You can the Lakeview Kiwi Holiday park online on either Booking.com or Hostelworld.
$ – Te Anau Lakefront Backpackers – Best Hostel
So you’re still deciding where to stay in Te Anau but have a limited budget to spare. Don’t worry, Te Anau Lakefront Backpackers has you covered. Sitting on the lakefront and just a five-minute stroll to shops, this hostel will let you enjoy the town without having to shell out too much.
Although the accommodations are cheap, the property has all the amenities you would need for a pleasant stay. There is an indoor and outdoor kitchen facility on-site in case you prefer cooking your meals. If you need help deciding on what to do for the day, you can just drop by the travel desk. I also love hanging out in the garden to watch the native birds fly by or in the in-house movie room for some quiet time.
Another great thing about Lakefront Backpackers is their range of accommodation options. Need some privacy? The private units come in either a double or triple room with an en-suite or shared bathroom. For guests who don’t mind making new friends, the shared units are the way to go. If you prefer a little more space and seclusion, the property also has separate cabins.
I highly recommend the glamping tents, too! You can find these tents nestled in the trees in the garden. They’re a great way to commune with nature without the hassle of bringing your own gear. But if you do happen to bring a tent with you, Lakefront Backpackers offers some spaces for your in the garden to pitch your tent.
The tent site costs $37 NZD per night, a bed in the dorm rooms starts at $42 NZD, and the private rooms with the lake view cost $156 NZD. You can book Lakefront Backpackers online on either Booking.com or Hostelworld.
Staying just outside of Te Anau
If you prefer waking up to gorgeous views of the mountains instead of being close to amenities, then staying outside of Te Anau is the way to go. The hotels in this area are way more luxurious despite being closer to nature, and you actually have plenty of accommodation options to choose from.
The downside, however, is that you won’t be within walking distance from the town amenities. Most of the properties here are at least ten minutes by car. But if you’re someone who enjoys nature, staying outside the town isn’t really a bad idea.
Pros of staying just outside of Te Anau:
- Charming hotels
- Unparalleled views
- Closer to nature and national parks
Cons of staying just outside of Te Anau:
- A bit of a drive from the town
- No restaurants within walking distance
- Most hotels are more expensive
5 BEST Hotels just outside of Te Anau
$$$ – Fiordland Lakes Lodge – Most Luxurious Hotel in Te Anau
An oasis of luxury in one of the most scenic spots in New Zealand, Fiordland Lakes Lodge is undeniably worth every penny. This world-class lodge can be found just seven minutes by car from Te Anau, but it feels like a world away. It is perched on a hill with impossibly green grasslands and sweeping views of Lake Te Anau, so you’ll feel close to nature while still enjoying the conveniences of a hotel.
The lodge itself screams luxury from every angle. Built with natural timber and river stone, it impresses every guest that comes to the town. When you step foot inside, you will immediately airy open architecture of the room, featuring a high ceiling, full-trunk pillars, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a large river stone fireplace right in the middle. Cozy and luxurious!
Fiordland Lakes Lodge will pamper you with its top-of-the-line amenities and services, too. Want to explore the area but hate to DIY? The hotel offers several packages to quench your thirst for adventure. Then, after a long day of taking in the outdoors, you can spend the rest of your night relaxing in one of the hotel’s two outdoor hot tubs, where you have a 360-degree view of the mountains and the lake.
When it comes to dining, the lodge prides itself as the host of the only restaurant that overlooks Lake Te Anau. The view alone makes the dining here a must-experience. But there’s actually more to Lakes Lodge’s in-house restaurant than its breathtaking view. The menu features only the freshest produce from the Fiordland area, paired with superb wine straight from the lodge’s two wine cellars.
Beyond these little luxuries, what makes Lakes Lodge one of the best Te Anau hotels is the fact that it’s partly exclusive. They only accommodate a maximum of 27 guests, so you can really have some privacy. There are a total of ten rooms to choose from in the lodge, but if you have some bucks to spare, I recommend booking one of the two self-contained loft Log Cabins for a more secluded stay.
Whatever unit you choose, you will be spoiled rotten. All the units are tastefully decorated with muted natural colors to complement the landscape and come complete with king-sized beds, luxurious bathrooms, and unmatched views of the mountains.
You can book the Lodge Rooms for $1,055 NZD per night and the Log Cabins for 4 people for $1,555 NZD per night. You can check availability at Fiordland Lodge online here.
$$ – High Leys Lodge – Hotel with the Best views
Looking for somewhere to stay for your honeymoon? The adults-only High Leys Lodge can give you exactly that and more.
High Leys Lodge is a mere five-minute car ride from Te Anau, but the views here feel like you’ve been transported miles away. You have the majestic Lake Te Anau and the national park in the distance, and the property itself sits on five acres of a lush garden. This means you have nothing but a gorgeous landscape to wake up to every morning.
But the views aren’t the only trick up this lodge’s sleeves. The property also boasts a guest lounge and dining space that highlight the hosts’ exceptional hospitality. For the duration of your stay, you can enjoy a gourmet a la carte breakfast in the morning and a complimentary glass of wine with a cheese platter every night. I love the free homebaked sweets, too!
If you ever need help deciding what to do for the day, High Leys can plan an adventure for you. All you need to do is ask! If you feel like staying in, you can still enjoy Te Anau’s beauty right on the property’s large terrace. There is even a courtyard, where you can go sit and relax.
The best part about staying in High Leys is that there are only three double rooms on the property, adding to the exclusivity of the place. Each of the rooms is outfitted with a TV, Wi-Fi, a living/dining room, and a private bathroom.
Out of the three rooms, the Luxmore King Room is easily the best one as it’s the largest and offers breathtaking views of the lake over the garden. You also have a furnished outdoor deck all to yourself.
The cheapest room is Takatimu at $266 NZD per night, while the two other rooms start at $375 NZD. You should book High Leys Lodge online well in-advance as they only have limited availability.
$$ – Kepler Oaks Chalet – Best Chalets for Couples
Kepler Oaks is one of the best hotels in Te Anau for couples as well as families. Nestled right on the edge of the Fiordland National Park and a five-minute car ride from the town, this accommodation provider is a nature lover’s haven.
It’s on a 13-acre land with plenty of farm animals (especially horses) roaming around. Add this to the breathtaking views of the national park, and you have a charming stay that won’t break your bank.
Although Kepler Oaks isn’t as luxurious as the other Te Anau hotels, it is still well-appointed with some modern facilities and services. Close to the property’s main homestead is a spa pool, where you can enjoy a lazy afternoon admiring the landscape. The self-contained chalets also come complete with an oven, fridge, microwave, washing machine, TV, and free Wi-Fi! I love how the chalets have a private porch that makes it easy to enjoy the panoramic view of the landscape during the day and the bright sky at night.
If you’re up for a quick nature tour, you can avail Kepler Oaks’ horse rides along the river and the lake. They also offer horse riding lessons, but if you prefer a more laid-back experience, they have a farmlet tour, where you can go around the property to see the farm animals and maybe feed the lambs.
If you’re visiting the town with family and friends, the Waiau and Luxmore Chalets are great options since they sleep five and six pax, respectively. For couples, the Takitimu Chalet is highly recommended. Chalet rates range from $250 NZD to $390 NZD.
Since there are only a few suites available, be sure to book Kepler Oaks online in advance to avoid disappointment.
$$ – Fiordland Eco Retreat – Best Holiday Home for Families or Groups
Have trouble deciding where to stay in Te Anau with a large group? Look no further than Fiordland Eco-Retreat. A luxury three-bedroom exclusive retreat, Fiordland Eco-Retreat is located close to the national park and a mere six-minute drive from Te Anau.
It’s one of the best holiday homes in the area for families. But in addition to accommodating large groups, what really had me sold is the picturesque, unobstructed 260° views of the panoramic Fiordland mountains you can see from every room on the property! Whether you’re in the kitchenette, the bedrooms, or the bathroom, you can take in this gorgeous vista anytime.
The holiday home itself is pretty stylish and modern. The kitchenette is complete with a mini convection oven, fridge, coffee machine, and an adjacent outdoor BBQ. You even have a charming outdoor dining area right outside the kitchenette, so you can dine while enjoying the view. For the main bathroom, you’ll find a luxurious bathtub with a double-wash basin.
There is also a small lounge inside with a satellite TV and Netflix, but I recommend hanging out in the private outdoor hot tub that overlooks the impossibly green landscape.
For the rooms, you have two main bedrooms (Master and Queen) plus a single bedroom. Each one is outfitted with an eco-friendly design, ranch-sliding doors, and private decks, where you can go stargazing. I’m sure you’ll love how stunning the night sky is here.
A two-night stay here costs about $1,044 NZD to $1,344 NZD, which is pretty reasonable for three rooms. You can book Fiordland Eco-Retreat online in advance to secure your stay!
$ – Barnyard Backpackers Te Anau – Best Budget Hostel
Barnyard Backpackers is easily one of the best hotels in Te Anau for budget-conscious travelers. While you do need your own transport to get here since it is a bit of a drive from the town itself (about 10 minutes), believe me, it’s well worth the hassle.
This hostel sits on a 50-acre elevated deer farm that offers guests a spectacular 360-degree view of the grand Fiordland mountain and its equally stunning sunsets. Since it’s on a farm, expect to encounter some horses, sheep, and dogs here. That means you won’t only have pictures of the gorgeous view but also some cute animals too!
The main building of the property is just as charming as it actually looks like a barn! It was hand-crafted by the owner himself and houses the communal areas. You can lounge in front of the open fire in the cozy common room, play a game of pool, or prep your meal in the fully-equipped kitchen. This is also where the reception is, so if you want to have some day tours booked, just head to the main building.
Apart from how cozy the barn is, I like that it’s separate from the main accommodation units, so you can have a good mix of socialization and privacy. Speaking of rooms, the units are all located down the hill, a short walk from the main building.
The rooms are inspired by log cabins and come complete with heating, a TV, a private bathroom, and a tea kettle. I love that they have a no-bunk policy, too, so the rooms look pretty spacious and airy. You may notice that rooms look pretty basic, but what it lacks in modern amenities it makes up for it its strategic location.
You see, right from your bedroom window, you’ll get grand views of the Fiordland river, all the way across Rainbow Downs and towards Lake Manapouri. It’s easily one of the best sights you’ll ever come across on your Te Anau trip.
A dorm room bed here costs $30 NZD per night, while the private rooms start at $110 NZD per night. You can book the hostel Booking.com.
Fun Things to do While in Te Anau
- Glowworms Caves – This guided cave tour allows you to get up close with hundreds of glow worms. It combines both walking through the narrow cave passages to spot these creatures as well as a cruise through the caves in the dark on a small boat. A must-do while in Te Anau!
- Explore Milford Sound – There are so many cruises you can take from Te Anau to Milford but one of the most popular and affordable is the Nature Cruise of Milford Sound. For $139 NZD you’ll get transport to Milford followed by a 2-hour cruise of Milford Sound, easily one of the most beautiful places in all of New Zealand. Lunch is provided.
- Go Jet Boating – This tour will have you jetting down Waiau River at speeds of up to 80 kilometers (50 miles) per hour. Your driver will also perform 180-degree high-speed spins and sharp turns before bringing you across stunning Lake Manapouri, where you will hop off for a guided walk. The whole trip will take 3 hours.
- Hike Kepler Track – One of the 10 Great Walks in New Zealand is the Kepler Track is a 60-kilometer-long (37 miles), 3 to 4-day loop track that follows along the shoreline of both Lake Te Anau and Lake Manapouri. You may not have the time or interest to do the full-length version so you can opt for a shortened guided Heli-hike tour because it involves being transported around by helicopter. It is expensive but oh, how epic!!!
Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand
Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!
You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:
- Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
- Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It’s what most budget travelers use for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping…and be prepared for an adventure of a lifetime! My favorite campervan rental company is JUCY because they have a huge selection of campervans to choose from, plus multiple pick-up/drop-off locations. You can browse JUCY’s campervan selection online here. Alternatively, you can easily compare all campervans available in NZ on Motorhome Republic here.
- Motorhome – A motorhome is larger and more comfortable than a campervan. Many motorhomes will comfortably sleep 6 or more people – perfect for a family visiting New Zealand. Motorhomes are the most expensive option, but with one you won’t ever need to stay in a hotel and you’ll save money that way. My top choice for a motorhome company is Star RV because they have beautiful motorhomes at affordable prices. You can check prices and availability for Star RV motorhomes online here. Alternatively, you can use Motorhome Republic to search all motorhomes in NZ. For more detailed info, read my complete guide to renting a motorhome in New Zealand!
EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve managed to snag a discount code for 5% off for my readers if you book your JUCY or Star RV campervan or motorhome before the end of June 2024! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy! One thing to note is that this code is only valid for travel before Dec 21, 2024.
Travel Insurance Has Your Back!
Life can be unpredictable and when you’re traveling abroad, the last thing you want to worry about is getting sick or injured and having to pay out of pocket for treatment.
If this concerns you, SafetyWing can help! SafetyWing specializes in very affordable and comprehensive medical and travel insurance that is aimed at digital nomads, remote workers, and long-term travelers. It costs just $45 USD per 4 weeks!
To start coverage, you must purchase it after leaving your home country, so we usually buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
Since using SafetyWing we’ve been reimbursed thousands of dollars when we’ve gotten sick. During the pandemic, they’ve even gone as far as to pay for our last-minute flights back to Canada before the border closed!
Thanks for reading!
Te Anau really is the perfect place to base yourself while exploring the great outdoors, and with these great hotels in Te Anau, you’ll be sure to have a memorable trip!
I hope this guide on where to stay in Te Anau helps you to plan! If you found this blog useful, be sure to look around at some of my other blogs including ones about Milford Sound and a couple of related reads below: