Te Anau is a pretty quaint small town, and underline the small. It’s the stop over before Milford sound and the home to the beginning of the Kepler Track, and Lord of the Rings locations such as the River Anduin and the Dead Marshes. It also in turn gave us a chance to visit all three.
The Kepler track is a great walk and requires huts to be booked, it takes the trampers up far into the mountains and down on the other side. We opted out of doing this great walk because it’s still spring and snowfall isn’t uncommon at the top of the mountains at this time. It can also be quite difficult to book some of the huts as it’s fairly popular (by no means as popular as the Milford Track which needs to be booked MONTHS in advance).
Instead of doing the entire track we opted to just hike up to the first hut (Shallow Bay hut) which is only about four hours return. The hike can be accessed from Rainbow Reach road (we at first thought it was Rainbow Road and couldn’t help but get excited over driving on a road from Mario Kart, but alas we were mistaken, close enough though right?).
It’s a great day hike that is pretty short and not a far drive from the township. It takes you through beautiful mossy green rain forest to a beautiful lake at the top, passing peatland mires on the way with spectacularly interesting boardwalks and small streams.
Best part of it all…when you begin the hike and cross over the swing bridge you are crossing of part of the River Anduin (the rivers real name is the Waiau River). Just up stream from this bridge is the location where they filmed the Urak-Hai chasing the fellowship through the forest as they rode down the water in elvish boats. Another LOTR location visited, another checked off the list.
When you leave (or are headed towards) the Rainbow Reach Carpark the Kepler Mire, Aka the Dead Marshes, are located on the opposite side of the highway just a short drive closer to the town.
TWO LOTR LOCATIONS IN ONE YOU SAY?
It’s true friends and fans, it’s true.
The Kepler Mire was used mainly as a fly over location and most of the actual filming was done in a studio. But that didn’t stop us from trying to reach the location. We tried to get through the thick bush or find at least a path through the shrubbery. When we finally were able to find a somewhat path to followed we discovered that a mire it is indeed, and without proper rubber boots there was no way to get even close to seeing the entire mire. It they built a nice little boardwalk it would be perfect! For now we shall just wish for one in the future and be happy we made it as far in as we did.
The small quaint town of Te Anau did not disappoint us in the slightest as hiking and LOTR fans. It’s also the gateway to one of the world’s most beautiful places, Milford Sound (but more on that in the future). What’s to hate?
Have you ever been to Te Anau, did we miss doing anything else in this wonderful place?
Also we should mention our campsite had two baby lambs to pet and feed?