Lake Te Anau
Lake Te Anau is in the south-western corner of the South Island of New Zealand, it is the largest of the southern glacial lakes, covering an area of 344 square kilometres. The main body of the lake runs north-south, and is 65 km in length, three large fiords reach out from its western side - these arms are called North Fiord, Middle Fiord and South Fiord, these are the only inland Fiords in New Zealand. Rolling hill country characterises the eastern side of the lake; several small islands lie in the entrance to Middle Fiord and the western side is a magnificent wilderness of forest and mountains - the Kepler and Murchison Ranges rise to around 1700 metres above sea level. The lake lies at an altitude of 210 m, and since its maximum depth is 417 metres, much of its bed lies below sea level. Its name was originally Te Ana-au, Maori for 'The cave of swirling water'. Several rivers feed the lake, of which the most important is the Eglinton River, which joins the lake from the east, opposite the entrance to North Fiord. The outflow is the Waiau River, which flows south for several kilometres into Lake Manapouri . The town of Te Anau lies at the south-eastern corner of the lake, close to the outflow. Most of Lake Te Anau is within the boundaries of Fiordland National Park and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site. Of the two settlements on the shores of the lake, the township of Te Anau is the largest. Here you'll find operators who can take you cruising or kayaking on the lake. You can also visit the Te Ana-au glow-worm caves, which are still geologically active. Two New Zealand Great Walks start at the lake. The Milford Track starts at the northern tip of the lake and the Kepler Track starts and ends at the south tip of the lake at the Waiau River. To see some of the endangered bird species that live and thrive in Fiordland, Takahe, Weka, Parakeets, Tui, Kea, Kaka and Wood Pigeons.