A Brief History of Te Anau

Coordinates: -45.417352, 167.711873

In the beginning the only permanent sign of man at Te Anau was a gantry for unloading wool bales at the present Real Journeys Visitor Centre, steamed down the lake from Te Anau Downs. Richard Henry lived in a hut closer to the Waiau River outlet and Quintin Mackinnon lived at Garden Bay, near the glow worm caves.

In 1889 after the Milford Track opened a Newfoundlander previously working at Te Anau Downs, Thomas Broderick brought a steamer, the Te Uira (lightning), later renamed Ripple, to Te Anau. He built a boat shed and the first house at Gantry Bay. Brod Bay on the Kepler Track, where firewood was taken on board, is named for Broderick.

In 1890 William Snodgrass built the Lake Te Anau Hotel and the Marakura Hotel soon followed. The 70 foot Tawera was launched in 1899 and faithfully carried tourists to the start of the Milford Track under various owners until 1997 when it was decommissioned due to rust.

It was not until the Homer tunnel and the Milford Road was opened in 1953 that Te Anau began to develop into what we see today.

Explore with the Milford Sound Guide

Lake Front, Te Anau