8 Things to do in Fiordland this Winter

July 29, 2021

8 Things to do in Fiordland this Winter

Best known as the gateway to Fiordland National Park, Te Anau is the best place to base yourself for a few days this winter. Home to plenty of activities and experiences it warrants a place on your New Zealand road trip itinerary.

Winter is a special time here in Southland and if you are thinking about visiting, don’t be put off by the cold temperatures, it’s well the extra layers in the suitcase. Winter brings Fiordland’s lowest rainfall, plenty of snow, and a picture-perfect national park.

Below are our top eight activities to put on your list this winter season in New Zealand.


Visit Milford Sound in all of its winter glory

Arguably the most famous destination of them all, the jewel in our Fiordland crown and home to some of the most iconic views in New Zealand. Winter is the perfect time to cruise in Milford Sound. The fiord is calm, the sunsets are golden and the Milford Road will blow your mind.

Take a full day driving from Te Anau and stop at some of our favourite locations like The Eglinton Valley, Mirror Lakes, and the famous Homer Tunnel. Keep a lookout for the Kea birds, the world’s only alpine parrot. Take a two-hour cruise with (insert fave cruise company link) and marvel at Mitre Peak and Stirling Falls.

Take a hike in Fiordland

Fiordland is a hiking paradise and for good reason. Did you know Fiordland is home to three of New Zealand’s Great Walks? However, if you are keen to strap on the hiking boots before the Great Walk season why not check out some of the famous day hikes in the area. Lake Marian day hike reveals a pristine glacial lake and Key Summit showcases the finest views down the Hollyford Valley. Looking to stay closer to Te Anau? Take a stroll from the control gates onto the iconic Kepler Track. This easy, flat walk takes you through the native bush where you might spot a little bird or two. An easy little escape into nature that is perfect for all ages and abilities

Visit the Te Anau Bird sanctuary

Punanga Manu o Te Anau, The Bird Sanctuary, is nestled on the shores of Lake Te Anau and home to some of the rarest, flightless birds in the world. The Takahē are the stars of the show and meeting these funny-looking characters is a must-do for Te Anau visitors. Enjoy up-close encounters with Kaka, Kereru, and Tui’s, all while listening to the knowledgeable and caring rangers who look after these birds. You can arrange a private group tour to learn more or simply drop in on a gold coin donation for feeding time. Take a peek at some of New Zealand’s birds that are difficult to spot in the wild and donate to the hard work they do to rehabilitate these rare species.

Cycle to Lake Manapouri

Have you heard about the Lake2Lake Cycle trail? You have now! A custom-built trail that runs alongside Lake Te Anau and the Waiau River through to Manapouri is waiting for you and your two wheels. Cycle from Te Anau and take in the natural beauty, the bike trail is open to walkers, runners, cyclists, and e-bikes, all of which we can arrange for you. Take your time, this ride showcases some of the best forests and lakeside views on the South Island.

Visit the Glow Worm Caves

Hop on a boat with the Real Journeys crew and take a trip to the iconic glow-worm caves. Travel across Lake Te Anau to an amazing 12,000-year-old cave system. Here you will find a grotto filled with thousands of glittering Glow Worms, all native to New Zealand. A magical adventure for kids and adults alike. Te Anua is the place to tick off some of New Zealand’s best-loved experiences.

Eat delicious local food

If there is one thing Fiordland is good at (apart from being picture-perfect, of course) is food. Our locals know their stuff, whether you want to sample the local favourites like venison or crayfish, delve into a deliciously crafted Bao Bun or dine with pristine lake views, Te Anau appeals to all tastebuds. There is always something happening in our little town and we will point you in the direction of famed hangouts such as La Toscana or Redcliffe for an evening of fun. You can order from almost every menu in town and enjoy in the comfort of your Radford’s hotel suite too.

Stay with the locals

Sharing Fiordland’s beautiful environment and unique experiences with guests is our passion. As “born and bred” Southland locals, Kerri and Steve know their stuff and will hook you up with the best experiences and best-kept secrets in their backyard. Staying with locals most certainly has its perks, pair this with luxurious accommodation and top-notch recommendations for an unforgettable stay.

Feel the calm in Doubtful Sound

Patea, Doubtful Sound is a Fiordland gem. A striking and powerful landscape spanning 40 kilometres from the head of the fiord right out to the Tasman Sea. Branching into three arms, you will experience impressive waterfalls, tranquil waters, and some of the most incredible wildlife. Did you know Doubtful Sound provides shelter for a population of Bottlenose Dolphins and Tawaki, the Fiordland Crested Penguin? With no road to the fiord, the experience of getting there is an adventure in itself. Depart early for a full day exploring this peaceful wonder and return to tell us all about it.

From off the beaten track to well-known adventures. Fiordland National Park serves up a spectacular array of iconic moments just waiting for you this winter. We can’t wait to see you soon.

  • "Beautiful hotel, warm and welcoming. We had a 2 bedroom spa bath unit which was lovely. Decorated luxuriously with special touches, and so clean. Kerri, the manager is so lovely, let us feed her gorgeous cat Dexter as we were missing ours. Guest laundry available, free parking and situated right across the road from the lake and a short walk to town. Can’t wait to return, thank you for a lovely stay."
    TraceJase – August 2021 – Gold Coast, Australia  Read Reviews
  • "We stayed for two nights and have no complaints, staff were very helpful and their location puts you very close to the main street and local places to eat. The room was good and on par with many places we have stayed in both in OZ and Europe and in some aspects, better. I certainly recommend them as a nice place to rest and relax during your exploration of this beautiful country."
    Jason T – August 2021 – Adelaide, Australia  Read Reviews
  • "We fully underestimated Te Anau, I wish we could have stayed longer. Absolutely wonderful place to stay, lovely helpful people, and beautiful comfortable rooms. Thank you for your wonderful hospitality!"
    Lorraine – August 2021 – New Plymouth, New Zealand  Read Reviews
  • "Really enjoyed our time at Radfords, clean comfortable room with a great view. Knowledgeable staff and well located. Well located to walk to the Real Journeys centre to catch our cruise to Doubtful Sounds. Would definitely stay again."
    Alex P – July 2021 – Gladesville, Australia  Read Reviews

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We are committed to preserving our beautiful surroundings and reducing our footprint on the environment.



We were recently visited by travel blogger @findingalexx. A connoisseur of all-things NZ tourism, Alexx has compiled a list of top places to stay across the country, and thanks to her enjoyable stay with Radfords, we’ve made the list! 
Hear what Alexx had to say about her time with us - link in our bio
Finalist…. With the MC
We love all of our guests, and sharing their joy as they discover the pure, pristine beauty of Fiordland. So we’re more than pleased to share some rather exciting news: we have been named a Finalist in the Qualmark 100% Pure New Zealand Experience Awards! 

No matter what the end results may be, we are so honoured to be amongst such a fantastic list of finalists and to be recognised for our efforts.

Why, meow, two-legged pals. 

 I’m Dexter Dude, and this is my second attempt at a short news update on Te Anau from my particular purry perspective. Because despite my small stature, and my priority being snoozing in a patch of sun most of the time, I’m actually surprisingly up-to-speed with the goings on around here.

On Saturday July 10th it sounds like the Kepler Track is going to be bustling. There’s a family-friendly Matariki Night Time Nature Walk to discover the forest after dark, and spot some of the delicious interesting creatures that live there. Registrations are required, so get in quick https://www.doc.govt.nz/news/events/regional-events/fiordland-events/booking-form-fiordland/

That’s all from me for the month. Catch you next time! 
🐾 all my fluffy love, Dexter.

Winter is officially here! And the beautiful stillness of Lake Te Anau is second to none at this time of the year. In fact, the whole Fiordland region is stunning this season; things are a little bit quieter outside of the peak spring and summer Great Walks and general exploration period, meaning you can take a moment to catch your breath and soak in the scenery. 
We’d love to host you here at Radfords on the Lake for a midwinter break. Time it with the school holidays next month to treat the kiddos to a calm, crisp Doubtful or Milford Sound experience. Or take the time to yourself – as a couple or alone – to tick this trip off your Kiwi adventure bucket list. 

📸 Great South
Reading through Trip Advisor reviews and I thought this lovely review sums up Kerri and her team perfectly...
Kerri, Steve and their team absolutely love sharing their local knowledge and making sure you get the most from your time in Fiordland. 

💫 Warm friendly Southern Hospitality
🏔 Beautiful views of Lake Te Anau, surrounding mountains and manicured gardens
🛏 Cosy and comfortable apartments 

Pappi’s scones for morning tea - our favourite!! 
Follow @whats_for_smoko for this recipe and many more

Autumn 🍂 

Our favourite season here in Te Anau, the weather is calm and still followed with warm sunny afternoons.

This tree was saved when the section was cleared by Sandra & Merv Radford in preparation for building the complex back in 2000, we always look forward to the beautiful colours it changes to in Autumn.

📸 @thejoshshaw 

We recently hosted the lovely Wendy and Brent from Tauranga. This afternoon a surprise gift arrived from them and I was blown away by their thoughtfulness and kindness. Thank you so much @wendysboutique