Te Anau is a pretty town nestled on the shores of Lake Te Anau on the doorstep of the wilderness of Fiordland National Park. The nearby community of Manapouri lies quietly on edge of Lake Manapouri.
There is quite a history to these towns. First surveyed for a settlement in 1893 after a route across the mountains from the head of the Lake Te Anau through to Milford Sound was discovered. It wasn't until 1953 that the town of Te Anau was established upon the completion of the Homer Tunnel making road access possible to Milford Sound. From there the town established itself as a tourist hub for visitors keen to take in the beauty of Fiordland as well as being a farming area and service town for the fishing boat fleet based on the Fiordland Coast.
Although Manapouri is a smaller town, it too is steeped in history. Explorer and Surveyor, James McKerrow spent a lot of time exploring the area in 1862. Manapouri was settled as early as 1891. In the 1960's Lake Manapouri became the subject of one of the New Zealand’s first large-scale conservation campaigns with thousands of people protesting the proposed raising of the Lake level to increase power generation.
Now in 2020 the Te Anau and Manapouri area has a population in the region of 3000. This figure swells enormously in the summer season with an influx of visitors to the area.
I came to the area in 1986 to work at the hotel in Milford Sound and would look forward to day trips to Te Anau to stock up on essentials or just have a day out. The town became home to me in the early 90's. It has been wonderful to see the town flourish over the years and become home to a diverse demographic of residents. Many young families have made the move to Te Anau or Manapouri from more populated regions wanting the quieter and safer lifestyle to bring up children. There are great schooling options ranging from early learning centres, kindergarten plus primary and an area college. The region is now becoming more popular as a retirement destination alternative to Otago. The construction of a new retirement housing village and the excellent medical centre has meant that many of our older residents are now choosing to stay here too. There are plenty of amenities to cater for all, service clubs and hobby and interest groups to join in with too.
The locals that call this region home, myself included love it for spectacular scenery on our doorstep that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. Whether it is a gentle stroll along the lakefront with children or grandchildren or a more energetic hike or ride along one of the walking/cycle tracks, a spot of trout fishing or one of the many other activities and attractions, Te Anau or Manapouri will be a place you will be happy to make your home too.
Written by our Salesperson Kathryn Hishon