October is just around the corner and spring is well and truly here; there’s spring in the air, a spring in our step, and the flower heads are springing to life in the Te Anau gardens and Fiordland National Park.
After a few uncertain and rather stressful months in and out of Alert levels across New Zealand, wandering through calming green spaces and watching native birds flit through native plant life is just what the doctor ordered. We’ve rounded up the top 5 green spaces in Te Anau & Fiordland for you to take in on your next holiday, or revisit as a local!
1. The Radfords on the Lake gardens
We’re proud to be consistently ranked a top Te Anau accommodation. Guests appreciate our clean (and now Covid Clean!) studio apartments or 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom suites with views of tranquil Lake Te Anau.
But surprisingly, there are two aspects of Radfords of the Lake that guests most typically remark on as they check out: their sightings of Dexter Dude the Cat in their motel apartment, or the extensive gardens.
Kerri’s Mum, Phyllis, isn’t a green thumb – she’s green from head to toe! Our Rhododedrons, camelias, roses, daphnes, lavenders and lots of pre annuals and annuals are tenderly cared for and immaculately presented by Phyllis year round.
We also take caring for the wider environment very seriously as well. We believe in treating Aotearoa respectfully and being guardians of its land. That love and care is apparent in our green space around the motel accommodations, but it also drives the choice of tourism operators we partner with, or the outdoor activities we encourage our guests to try while here. Like biking along the lake front as opposed to driving to each destination, or visiting the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary.
So even if you’re not booked to stay at Radfords on the Lake, we’re proud to say that our gardens are worth driving by for a peek!
2. The famous Punanga Manu o Te Anau/Te Anau Bird Sanctuary
Speaking of the Sanctuary, definitely pop it onto your list of rather therapeutic green spaces to explore in Te Anau. It’s a 2 minute drive away from Radfords on the Lake, but better yet, finish your morning coffee in our gardens and take the 25 minute stroll there for extra relaxation.
Nestled on the banks of Lake Te Anau, Punanga Manu o Te Anau/Te Anau Bird Sanctuary is a safe haven for cheeky takahē, kakā parrot, the unusual Antipodes Island parakeet and the ruru koukou owls, amongst many others.
But aside from the protected and beloved birdlife, you’ll also soak in the scenery, thanks to a short stroll from the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre. Native trees, bush and grasses fill the Sanctuary and make for a cozy home for the birds.
3. Fiordland National Park, of course!
If you do decide to drive to the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary for some bird watching and outdoor time instead of walking from Radfords, you might as well explore more of the Fiordland National Park while you’re at it!
Fiordland is famous for its Great Walks tracks. But it’s also a fabulous region for shorter day walks. No matter your physical abilities, there is a stunningly beautiful walk for all in our beloved Park! Our recommendation is to extend your trek from the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre to the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary by heading to the Kepler Track Control Gates. Watch the Manapouri and Te Anau Lake water flow at this section of the hydroelectric power station, see postcard-worthy mountain and lake views and vast stretches of this gorgeous native land.
All up, it’s about a 50-60 minute walk from the Visitor Centre to the Gates and back to your car for stop number four: Ivon Wilson Park!
4. Ivon Wilson Park – 35 hectares of greenery!
Another must-do outdoor spot for roaming gardens and green space is Ivon Wilson Park. It’s about a 1km walk from the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre if you’d rather keep the leg-stretch going, or you can quickly bop over in your car or by bike from Radfords on the Lake.
Ivon Wilson is a myriad of exotic and native trees to immerse yourself in for a quiet, reflective moment. Its 35-hectares of beauty is also home to expansive playgrounds for the kiddos, off-leash fun for the doggos, and a bop round on the mountain bike for those feeling even more energetic!
5. ANZAC Reserve City Park in Te Anau
For a more manicured and deliberate aesthetic (Phyllis’s fave!), pop into ANZAC Reserve City Park before the end of your mini-break in Te Anau. It’s right on the lakefront and an easy 4-minute wander from us here at Radfords.
There are some fun sculptures for the kids, like a large and curious takahē, but also some beautiful memorials in honour of our soldiers of wars past. Enjoy a picnic here if you have time, surrounded by well-tended hedges and flowerbeds, and read the various plaques about our local history and landscape.
If you appreciate the gardening skills of others, or simply appreciate some quiet time for the soul in a green, natural space, then pick Te Anau and Fiordland for your next holiday!