Visitor Centre to Control Gates – Start of the Kepler Track

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This walk is perfect for anyone who is interested in an easy afternoon stroll. While the town of Te Anau is charming and quite small, it is nonetheless lovely to get away from it for a few hours to spend some time in nature. After the yacht club, the remainder of the track takes you through a small forest. The forest will open onto the Bird Sanctuary briefly then the vegetation is a mix of small bushes with lake views. 

The track takes in views of several mountain ranges, from the Jackson Peaks and Kepler Mountains and then later, if you know where to look, the Earl Mountains. But even if you can’t tell the mountains apart, there’s no doubt that they’re quite an unforgettable sight.

As you follow the track and the shore, you will arrive at the Control Gates which, as the name suggests, control the flow of water between Lake Te Anau and Lake Manapouri. These gates are also the start of the Kepler Track.

While you’re in Te Anau, make sure you take a day trip out to Milford Sound. Or take a once in a lifetime scenic flight over Dusky and Doubtful Sounds. which leaves right from the waterfront in Te Anau.

Quick Facts

        • Location: Te Anau, South Island, New Zealand
        • Time needed: 50-minute walk
        • Distance: 4 km
        • Difficulty: Very easy
        • Bikes allowed: Yes
        • Route: One way
        • Elevation: None
        • Wet Feet: No
        • Toilets: Yes, at the visitor centre and the bird sanctuary.
        • Dogs: Not allowed
        • Mobile Coverage: Yes, very good
        • Last Updated: May, 2020
  • Track Highlights

    The track is a leisurely walk along the shore of the lake, overlooking the mountains with great views on a calm day.

  • Track Quality

    The track is maintained and cared for by the Department of Conservation. It is well-gravelled.

  • Hazards


  • Transport

    Te Anau is a stop on InterCity bus’ itinerary. Te Anau is quite small and most places, including the Visitor Centre, are accessible on foot.

  • Water

    There is drinking water at the visitor centre.

  • Driving Instructions

    The Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre is located on the intersection between Lakefront Dr and the Manapouri-Te Anau highway.

  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    There are shops and restaurants near the beginning of the track. The track eventually veers away from these establishments as it continues to hug the shore.

  • Area & Track History

    The town of Te Anau was established shortly after the Milford Track opened. It is a commonplace to stop for a few days for tours through Milford Sound and as a stepping stone to the rest of the Fiordland.

    This track leads to the start of the Kepler track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks.

  • Camping & huts on or near the walk

    No camping on this walk

  • Best Things To Do near this walk

My 3D map of Visitor Centre to Control Gates

Here is my 3D map for the walk from the Visitor Centre to Control Gates in Te Anau. You’ll see photos and track points along the walk.

Map of the visitor centre to the control gates walk in Te Anau

Control Gates at the start of the Kepler Track

The control gates are a bridge over the Waiau River which is the start of the Kepler Track walk. The control gates regulate water flows between lakes Te Anau and Manapouri for the West Arm hydroelectric power station in Lake Manapouri. Once you are over the control gates you enter Fiordland National Park.

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