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Lake Manapouri

Lake Manapouri: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Queenstown: Premium Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Trip

1. From Queenstown: Premium Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Trip

Visit Doubtful Sound on a full-day trip from Queenstown. Board a luxury bus and travel along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, through the rolling countryside to Manapouri. Enjoy informative commentary along the way from your driver. From Manapouri, cruise across the crystal waters of Lake Manapouri to West Arm. Then board a coach to cross the alpine route of the Wilmot Pass, through some of Fiordland National Park’s most dense rainforest. On reaching Deep Cove, climb aboard a modern catamaran for a 2.75-hour cruise, exploring the waterways of this serene and isolated fiord. See waterfalls, rainforests, mountains, and wildlife. Your knowledgeable nature guides will provide you with engaging and informative commentary throughout.  You'll be treated to the sound of silence when the vessel’s engines are turned off. Experience floating on the fiord, with only the rush of waterfalls and birdsong to break the silence. Bring your own lunch, or purchase snacks on board in the vessel’s cafes. If you would like to preorder a picnic lunch, feel free to contact the activity provider directly after booking. When it rains in Fiordland, the landscape is especially dramatic. The scenery is spectacular, and you will stay dry and comfortable from your vantage point on the catamaran. At the end of your cruise, return over Wilmot Pass by coach and cruise across Lake Manapouri before the bus journey back to Queenstown.

Te Anau: Natural Landmarks & Lord of the Rings Location Tour

2. Te Anau: Natural Landmarks & Lord of the Rings Location Tour

This small group, fully guided day trip combines Te Anau’s top highlights with a Lord of the Rings experience and the option to add on some of the areas amazing activities, making this the ultimate way to experience stunning Te Anau. Itinerary: 1.Te Anau - The tour starts with pick you up from your hotel and head to a favourite spot for great photos of Lake Te Anau. 2.Te Anau Bird Sanctuary - Take a guided tour and to see some of the rarest birds in the country including the Takahe and Kaka. Learn about these animals and the local environment while exploring this Te Anau asset. 3.Dead Marshes - The journey continues to our first famous Lord of the Rings attraction, a viewpoint looking over The Dead Marshes. From here you can see where Frodo and Sam waded their way through the mud trying to get to Mordor. 4.Rainbow Reach – Visit a sight loved by hikers, Lord of the Rings fans and locals alike, Rainbow Reach. A cable bridge over the stunning Waiau River (known as The River Anduin in LOTR) leads to the start of the Kepler Track and one of the beautiful forests of Fiordland National Park. Hear some of the LOTR stories and learn about the amazing biodiversity in the park. 5.Lake Manapouri – Follow the river from Rainbow Reach to one of New Zealand’s most famous lakes, Lake Manapouri. The gateway to Doubtful Sound, spend some time exploring the shores of this crystal-clear lake and hear about its history including the construction of the Manapouri hydro dam, the largest in the country. Once you have had a look around it is a good time for a quick break at one of the local coffee shops. 6.Mavora Lakes - Departing Manapouri we make our way to one of the most famous LOTR sights and hidden gem of the Mavora Lakes region. See amazing landscapes and also several famous LOTR filming locations including two locations of Orc battles, where Pippin & Merry enter Fangorn Forest to escape the Orcs and where Frodo and Sam leave the Fellowship and cross the lake. This spot is paradise for nature lovers and LOTR fans alike, while here you will enjoy some free time to explore, eat lunch or maybe use some of our props and recreate some of the movie scenes. 7.Te Anau - Sadly the tour is coming to an end as we make our way back to Te Anau but your adventure should not finish there. While the destinations you will be visiting are truly spectacular, we believe it’s our small groups, passionate guides, the journey and the little details that set our tours well apart. Secret stops, wildlife viewings, specially designed vehicles, and many other pleasant surprises ensure our tours are an experience to remember.

Milford Sound & Te Anau 2-Day Small-Group Tour

3. Milford Sound & Te Anau 2-Day Small-Group Tour

Day 1: Leaving Queenstown, travel around Lake Wakatipu with amazing views of "The Remarkables" Mountain Range with some stops to take fantastic photos. Then, enter Fiordland National Park and visit Eglinton Valley, Mirror Lakes, Lake Gunn, Hollyford River, Falls Creek, the Darran Mountains, and Homer Tunnel. Next, board your cruise on a small boat for an informative and personal tour of Milford Sound. Get closer to the wildlife and nature, including the New Zealand fur seals basking on the rocks. See massive rock faces rising hundreds of meters out of the sea and waterfalls cascading from ancient rainforest high in the mountains. Marvel at the awe-inspiring Mitre Peak, an iconic steep triangular peak, rising high up above the reflective waters. As day 1 comes to a close, enjoy an overnight stay in Te Anau where you can have dinner at a local restaurant or take an evening stroll around the lake. Day 2: Start Day 2 with pickup from your hotel and first visit the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary. Take a guided tour of the sanctuary and see some of the rarest birds in the country, including the Takahe and Kaka. Visit your first Lord of the Rings attraction at the Dead Marshes and Rainbow Reach. Enjoy a viewpoint overlooking The Dead Marshes from an elevated position. At Rainbow Reach a cable bridge over the Waiau River, known as The River Anduin in the movie series leads you into the forest and Kepler Track. Next, explore the shores of Lake Manapouri and hear more about its history. Have a quick break at one of the local coffee shops before heading to the Mavora Lakes, which is one of the most famous LOTR sites in the region. After some free time here, continue back to Te Anau where you can take part in some more optional activities, with the final drop-off in Queenstown in the early evening.

Te Anau: River Jet Boat and Bike Ride Tour with Local Guide

4. Te Anau: River Jet Boat and Bike Ride Tour with Local Guide

Begin your adventure in the heart of Te Anau, a short walk from most accommodation. After check-in, rest at a picnic table to enjoy free WiFi and a charging station to make sure all your devices are good to go. Hop on the bus for a short ride through local farmland to the Queen's Reach boat launch on the Waiau River.  Gear up with spray jackets and life vests before heading down the Waiau River. Lined by ancient forest, this river is featured in The Lord of the Rings as the Anduin River. Contrast high-speed spins with pauses along the river in some amazingly tranquil places. Spot some trout in the crystal-clear water and have time to take plenty of photos. Learn about the area's unique environment and fascinating history from your knowledgeable local guide.  Emerge onto the breathtaking Lake Manapouri - named NZ's most beautiful lake - surrounded by glacier-carved mountains. Experience a sense of wonderment as you sit in awe of their beauty and grandeur - and perhaps take a sip... Go ashore to explore the ancient surrounds on a short walk through Fiordland National Park's lush beech forest. Stretch your legs before getting back on board to head up river with more fun, laughs and banter along the way. Back at the boat ramp, skip the bus ride back to town, and instead bike your way along Te Anau's Lake2Lake Cycle Trail. Take your time, stop for a picnic lunch and enjoy a bit of exercise as you make your way 11 kilometres on the edge of the upper section of the river and around the bottom of Lake Te Anau before finishing back where it all started.

Other Sightseeing Options in Lake Manapouri

Want to discover all there is to do in Lake Manapouri? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Lake Manapouri

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 43 reviews

We had the most amazing experience. From being picked up in Queenstown until our return. Both guides we exceptional. Full of knowledge. Must be a great asset for the company. Couldn’t believe Wills knowledge.. Very professional with a real kiwi attitude. Thank you

It was amazing. Wild beauty of the Southern nature. Serenity. And it’s run by wonderful people from Real Journeys - check in, captains, bus drivers, baristas. Very friendly. Informative commentary. Unforgettable trip.

A wonderful experience seeing Kiwi hospitality at its best and the most beautiful South Island scenery. great value for money. Enjoyed every minute. thanks.

Fantastic trip. Great boat & very nice staff. Good value for money and would highly recommend this trip

Everything was perfect, the place amazing, customer service awesome… thank you guys a lot !!!