Te Anau is a little lakeside settlement on the West Coast of the South Island, New Zealand. The town is centered around the tourism market that drives it. Not only is the lake a sight to see and one of the most picturesque places in New Zealand but it is also a gateway to Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound. A lot of boat cruises leave for the various sounds from Pearl Harbour (yes that’s right… Pearl Harbour), and this small bay was alive with busyness when we visited with all the tourists hopping off and on boats.
The lake itself is the largest lake in the South Island and there is a walkway that meanders up the eastern shore of the lake. Unlike other lakes, the local eateries do not fringe the lake, so if you want to sit down to a lunch with lake views you will need to order take away. The lake also offers a good spot to try your stone skipping, or just to sit down for a bit of a chat or lie in the sun.
The town of Te Anau probably has more cafes and restaurants than any other type of business. There were some exceptional looking cafes that seemed quite popular. We ended up spending a good 20 minutes looking around the different menus, and in the end we settled on The Ranch Bar and Grill as it legitimately looked like it had the best lunch menu. We ordered a few things for the table and I got a Lamb Salad and Matt got a Thai Prawn Salad. The food was exquisite and both of us had our expectations exceeded. I would recommend this to anyone for a sit-down lunch. The service was quick, and the waitress did everything to accommodate us even though we took ages to make food decisions and moved to a different table. After dining there you will without a doubt leave feeling full, content and have memories of a wonderful meal!
If you head north to Milford Sound via the state highway you will find the road trace the edge of the lake. There are many places to stop and pull over along the way and take hundreds of lakeside photos, and this is something I definitely recommend doing!