As isolated as Fiordland can be, this natural wonderland is also host to some cool and quirky events that will entice you to plan a trip out here sooner rather than later.
With a year-round calendar of exciting events that will let you discover Fiordland in a whole different way – it’s time to save the date, gather round some mates and let the good times roll.
Here’s our favourite must-do events in Fiordland to enjoy off-season.
1. Te Anau Enduro – March
A multi-sport event where you kayak, bike and run as many laps as you can in a set time, Te Anau Enduro is an annual event held each March that attracts hundreds of visitors from near and far to experience Lake Te Anau in a challenging, adrenaline fueled, crazy fun kind of way.
You can enter solo or as a team to enjoy world-class mountain biking, kayaking and running tracks in and around beautiful Lake Te Anau – the largest lake in the South Island with an impressive depth of 417 metres (1,368 feet).
2. Lap the Lake – April
Since 2013, hundreds of runners and walkers have descended into Te Anau for the annual OneStaff Lap the Lake event. Situated at stunning Mavora Lake and open to teams and individuals, you can take the challenge to lap the lake as many times as you can in six hours. Categories include team relay, single, double lap, the 6-hour solo, and a kid’s race to boot.
A relatively flat 10 km course with some undulating sections, you’ll traverse pristine rivers and lakes, enchanting forests, and if that isn’t enough, drum roll please…through key filming locations from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Awesome prizes, entertainment and lots of fresh air and fun, Lap the Lake is a fantastic way to discover Fiordland and offers something for everyone!
3. Te Anau Tartan Festival – April
If you love your tartan, then Te Anau’s Tartan Festival is a great excuse to get your kilt on. A family fun-filled event that will sweep you up and away by the merriment of it all with traditional Highland games like sheaf tossing, farmer’s walk and rock carry on hand. There’s plenty of dancing, piping, drumming competitions, and of course an incredibly fun hoedown.
But the ever-popular Kilted Mile is perhaps the most crowd-pleasing drawcard that brings together the serious and not so serious, to run their hearts out in fantastic kilted attire. Lots of prizes and trophies up for grabs – this is one family friendly event you’ll want to return to year after year.
4. Fiordland Big 3 – June
If hunting is your game, then Fiordland Big 3 is calling your name. A hunting tournament like you’ve never experienced before – Fiordland Big 3 is a multi-day hunt that spans across Fiordland mountains and the wider Southland and Otago regions.
Hunters can team up to bag the best they can find in each of the three trophy species: deer, pig and fish. Held annually during Queen’s birthday weekend, you can enter as a kid or an adults team for some great fun in the great outdoors.
5. Te Anau Golf Classic – July
Set on one of the most picturesque golf clubs in the world, Te Anau’s annual Golf Classic is one tee-rrific event not to be missed. To be held this year from 27-28 July 2019 at Te Anau Golf Club, you’re warmly invited to discover this 18-hole challenging par 72 course and all its glory.
Tucked between surrounding Fiordland mountains and picturesque Lake Te Anau, just remember to not let the scenery distract you too much from focusing on your grip, stance and swing.
6. Te Anau Manapouri Fishing Classic – October
Held annually each labour weekend since 2007, Te Anau Manapouri’s Fishing Classic is a major fishing competition that draws people from all over New Zealand to enjoy some time out on the water, catch a fish or two, and hopefully go in the draw to win a brand new Stabicraft boat!
This Fiordland based fishing competition runs over two lakes, Te Anau and Manapouri as well as the Upper Waiau river. Open to all ages, there are both individual and family entries available. Awesome atmosphere with major and spot prizes galore, this is a genuine kiwi experience that everyone in the family will enjoy.
7. Fiordland Sunday Market – from October to June
Fiordland is as bountiful as it is rich in natural wonders and the Fiordland Sunday Market is the best place to get a taste of it all. Held at local Te Anau Club, there’s definitely magic in the mix with a variety of pottery, jams and chutneys, homemade baking, natural soaps, wooden handicrafts and carvings, organic veggies and native plants, raw honey, flax weaving, mosaics and so much more on offer.
From October to June, Fiordland Sunday Market is held monthly and runs between 10 am – 2pm – so you can pop down, get to know the friendly locals, grab coffee and a bite and find some great souvenirs to take home with you.