Te Anau offers spectacular whole and breathtaking bits of Fiordland

As an incentive travel option this autumn, Te Anau stacks up as the ideal choice. Serving as the base camp to Fiordland National Park, Te Anau provides plenty to see and do in a spectacular setting as well as offering fantastic restaurants, bars, cafes and great places to stay. The crisper, quieter days of autumn are a perfect time for savouring golden days in the heart of the deep South.

“It’s all here,” says Nathan Benfell, who chairs the Fiordland Business Association. “Fiordland is the largest national park in New Zealand. A lot of people still haven’t explored their own backyard. Here’s an opportunity to do something a little different.”

For those wanting to reward their staff or thinking about their next work conference or team-building exercise, an extended stay in Te Anau is well worth considering. Visit Fiordland’s website (www.fiordland.org.nz) includes a tempting three-day/three-night itinerary that showcases what’s on offer.

“You can share a cocktail evening while enjoying drinks and hors d’oeuvres or go to some of the best fooderies around town.”

There are endless opportunities to get out and enjoy water-based activities in Te Anau, Manapouri, Patea/Doubtful Sound or Piopiotahi/Milford Sound, or explore the area by helicopter, fixed-wing plane or the South Island’s only floatplane. Known as the walking capital of the world – with three of New Zealand’s Great Walks – Fiordland boasts many beautiful day walks, with options for every type of group.

From Te Anau, Pure Milford offers an all-inclusive day tour (Coach-Cruise-Coach) with an experienced crew to ensure people get the most out of their adventures in the Fiordland National Park. Everyone loves a Milford Sound cruise, but other activities available include jet boating adventures on the Waiau River, lake cruises to the Te Anau Glow-worm Caves, kayaking and biking.

Groups may wish to book a sailing cruise across Lake Te Anau and into the South Fiord on Faith, a wooden motor sailer built in Scotland in 1935. “You can share a cocktail evening on the Faith and watch the sun go down while enjoying drinks and hors d’oeuvres or go to some of the best fooderies around town and sample the local venison.”

Pure Milford offers an all-inclusive day tour (Coach-Cruise-Coach) with an experienced crew in the Fiordland National Park.

Together with his partner Liz, Nathan operates Shakespeare House B&B. Te Anau’s longest-running bed and breakfast, Shakespeare House is only 100 metres from the lake and within easy strolling distance of shops and restaurants. It has a well-equipped conference room, dining room, communal lounge and kitchen, and there is an option to book out the entire venue. All meeting, catering and accommodation requirements can be met for groups of up to 20 people.

“Say, for example, a wool broker had just taken over an alpaca wool venture, hypothetically speaking, and wanted to thank their provincial managers for a good year, then they could come here and hire the whole place. They could have their meetings here, then relax and sample what the area offers.”

Nathan says they often also get bookings from biking groups exploring the 28km Lake2Lake Trail or the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail. Bikes and e-bikes can be hired in Te Anau.

Getting to Te Anau is straightforward. Te Anau has its own airport and charter planes can be accommodated. As Roz Hawkes-Hermann of Visit Fiordland observes though, Te Anau is only a two-hour drive from Queenstown or Invercargill. “The drive up the Southern Scenic from Invercargill is glorious, and we’re well connected with shuttles between Queenstown and Te Anau.”

There are many other enticing accommodation providers in Te Anau including local motels and boutique options like Loch Vista bed and breakfast villa, set on four acres of rural land and surrounded by lake and mountain views. Larger corporate groups can also be accommodated at the Distinction Luxmore Hotel Te Anau which offers deals for business travellers.

© Waterford Press Ltd 2024 – Independent Print Media New Zealand

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