Queenstown to Te Anau via the Mavora Lakes

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Mavora Lakes

On the first night you will be camping in the isolated and very beautiful area known as the Mavora Lakes. These are two beautiful and remote stretches of water in the Snowdon Forest Conservation Area. On a good day, the lakes are glassy, blue and clear enough to see trout cruising the many bush clad bays and inlets. Thick beech forests fringe the lakes and in the distance are the snow capped peaks of the Livingstone Mountains. The area is also famous for its tramping tracks.

The route is unsealed but with a good surface and will easily take hybrid bikes. It is quiet and scenic with the added delight of a ferry ride across Lake Whakatipu in a vintage steamer. This is a good alternative route to Te Anau from Queenstown, but take note; there are no stores between Queenstown and Te Anau on this road. Stock up on supplies including water for two days. You'll need it as you tackle the Vonn Saddle heading up to the lakes.

Queenstown to Mavora Lakes

Leaving the Ferry at Walter Peak

Take the ferry T.S.S. Earnslaw from Queenstown to Walter Peak and start cycling from this point. The Earnslaw is a great experience, being a restored vessel with all the brass-work and varnished timber you associate with a ship nearly a century old. The engine room is visible with all the pistons and valves chugging away amidships. Lake Whakatipu itself is arguably the most beautiful lake in New Zealand with its blue waters and perfect backdrop of mountains frosted with snow and rugged hinterlands.

Disembark at Walter Peak and start cycling from this point. The road undulates and then climbs gradually to 700 metres passing a restored settler cottage. This is a remote spot even today, but you can imagine life here a hundred years ago... beautiful, even idyllic, but isolated and cold in winter. At the end of the day there is a right hand turn (clearly signposted) leading to a pretty side road through beech forests to the lakeside camp-sites. This road stretches for about ten kilometres and there are several DOC camping spots along the way with toilets available. There are also several water tanks although you will have to boil or filter your drinking water. (Do take insect repellent).

Mavora Lakes to Te Anau

The Road to Te Anau

After your previous day's climb this day is relatively easy. The road gradually descends through the hills and across plains. It forks before the main highway (94) to Te Anau. Take the right hand fork for Te Anau, or the left to continue Around the Mountains through Mossburn and Lumsden.

Te Anau is a pretty tourist town set on the edge of a lake. From here you can consider a trip to Milford Sound.