The quiet lakeside town of Te Anau, on New Zealand's South Island, serves as a major stopover for visits to Fiordland National Park – the nation's largest national park and arguably its most visually breathtaking. There's plenty to do in town, however, between park visits. Namely, exploring the area's other natural wonders around Lake Te Anau.
The town of Te Anau is defined by its namesake lake, the second-largest in New Zealand. Watersports are popular here, from fishing to swimming to jet-boating. You can also spend days hiking through the secluded forests on Lake Te Anau's southern shore. On the western end, you can join a small boat tour inside the Te Anau Glowworm Caves – a labyrinth of underground grottoes filled with waterfalls, whirlpools and glow worms that light up the otherwise pitch-dark caverns.
The main reason to visit Te Anau, whether you stay for an hour or a weekend, is for its easy access to Fiordland National Park. Within this 1.2-million-hectare World Heritage Site, you'll find some of New Zealand's most stunning natural wonders, including Doubtful Sound, Milford Sound and top-tier trails. Milford Sound, which is actually a fiord, empties into the Tasman Sea and is bordered on either side by sheer cliffs dripping with tiny waterfalls. The park is also home to a handful of world-renowned hiking paths including the Kepler Track, whose 60-kilometre loop puts the country's defining landscapes – valleys, mountains, forests and waterfalls – on full display.