The Trail

The Fiordland Trails Trust wish to establish a 28km multi-use trail from Lake Te Anau to Lake Manapouri, along the side of the Waiau River. The first 10km is completed.  The next 9km is opening on Sunday 28 May 2017.  The Trust is currently seeking funding for the section from Balloon Loop to Manapouri.

We welcome donations, which can be made via:

  1. Online banking: account number 03-1749-0049791-000 (please also email with your name, amount and date of donation if you would like to receive a receipt)
  2. Donation box at Outside Sports in Te Anau and near the start of the trail.  Include your name and email or postal address if you would like a receipt
  3. Crowe Horwath office, 112 Main Street, Te Anau

Donations of $500.00 or more make you eligible to become a Patron of the Trust, and have your name etched at the entrance to the trail. All contributions over $5 qualify for a charitable donation receipt.


The trail begins at Lake Te Anau from the DOC visitor centre and heads to the control gates at the start of the Waiau River, a stretch of 4km.  The control gates are the entry to Fiordland National Park and the Kids Restore the Kepler Project. This section offers magnificent vistas over Lake Te Anau to the Fiordland mountains, several rest areas and is well away from any road.

Leg 2 travels along the upper Waiau River from the Control Gates to Queens Reach, a popular access point to the Waiau River. 6.4km.

These first two legs are now open for use

Leg 3 continues from Queens Reach to the Rainbow Reach car park and is 6.4km long. This link enables runners or walkers to loop back to the control gates by crossing the swing bridge and heading back along the Kepler Track.

Leg 4 continues along the Waiau River to Balloon Loop Road providing another vehicle access point to the trail or return loop option for cyclists.  It is 2km.  

Overall the trail offers a natural, highly scenic and safe recreational experience that will cater for a wide range of users. The trail is being built to grade 2 i.e. "easy" by NZ Cycle Trail standards (0-3.5% gradient for 95% of length; 2.2m wide etc.)

Stage Two

The legs from Balloon Loop to Manapouri include a section of Fiordland National Park (FNP) and a further 9km of trail. Under the current Fiordland National Park Management Plan cycling is not permitted on the National Park section of the trail. The Park Plan is due for review in 2017 and the Trust will continue to work with DOC in partnership to enable cycling.


“Development of the trail will provide numerous benefits for the local community such as job creation both during construction and long term through tourism related business and services, not to mention the obvious recreational opportunities for walkers, cyclists and fishermen. Over time the trail will generate its own revenue that will sustain the ongoing maintenance of the trail, all of which helps build a more sustainable community.”

Feasibility Report, May 2010: Te Anau-Manapouri Cycleway & Walkway by Southern Land CKL, Wanaka