Visitor Centre to Te Anau Bird Sanctuary

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It’s a short walk to the bird sanctuary from the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre, head down towards the lake and turn left. The walk takes you along the foreshore. From this walk, you will be staring out onto the second largest lake in New Zealand, second only to Lake Taupo on the North Island. The lake stretches and weaves its way through the Southern Alps. In the distance, you will see the Murchison Mountains. 

The path is shared with cyclists. However, if you’d like a leisurely walk to yourself, you also have the option of walking along the beach, which is much nicer. This means that you don’t have to walk along the road, but also allows you to take a seat and enjoy the water views. After the yacht club, you must rejoin the path. The walk becomes surrounded by lush greenery, all while still allowing views of the mountains and the lake. 

The Bird Sanctuary grounds offer a beautiful setting to take in the birds both in aviaries and the free-flying birds overhead. The Takahe’s enclosure is near the edge of the sanctuary, closest to the lakefront. This may be your only chance to see the Takahe bird that is native to New Zealand’s Fiordland.

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: 15 minute walk
        • Distance: 0.5 km
        • Difficulty: Very easy
        • Bikes allowed: Yes
        • Route: One way
        • Elevation: None
        • Wet Feet: No
        • Toilets: Yes, at the visitor centre and at the bird sanctuary.
        • Dogs: Yes, on a leash.
        • Mobile Coverage: Yes, very good
        • Last Updated: May, 2020
  • Track Highlights

    The track offers views of Lake Te Anau and the Murchison Mountains. You will also be able to see the Takahe bird at the sanctuary.

  • Track Quality

    The path is flat and compact.

  • 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 Manapouri – Te Anau highway.

  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    Several shops and restaurants can be found within easy walking distance of the walk, as it is in town.

  • 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.

    The Takahe bird which can be found at the sanctuary was thought to be extinct until 1948, when it was discovered that they still existed but were extremely rare. The Takahe were competing with deer for their food source and their eggs were being attacked. Since being rediscovered, DOC manage the preservation of the Takahe, including taking in injured birds and helping them regain their strength before releasing them back into the wild.

  • Camping & huts on or near the walk

    No camping on this walk

  • Best Things To Do near this walk

Map of Visitor Centre to Te Anau Bird Sanctuary

Here is the map for Visitor Centre to Te Anau Bird Sanctuary showing it’s location in New Zealand. You can change the view on the map to satellite if you prefer to see an image of where the walk is instead.

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