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Te Anau Weather - Rain or Shine?

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Located in the South Island of New Zealand, Te Anau is a picturesque town renowned for its captivating natural beauty. It serves as the gateway to the Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound, making it an ultimate destination for nature enthusiasts. However, to fully relish the charm of Te Anau and its surrounding attractions, it's essential to understand its weather patterns. This short guide provides detailed insights into the weather in Te Anau, the best time of year to visit, and the activities to enjoy in various seasons or with the weather presented on the day.

Te Anau weather overview.

te anau

The climate in Te Anau can be described as mild oceanic or temperate maritime. This means that the town experiences moderate temperatures throughout the year, with warm summers and cooler winters. The town sees average precipitation, with rainfall occurring in all months of the year, contributing to its lush green landscapes. There is a common assumption that Te Anau receives a lot of rain compared to other parts of New Zealand such as Queenstown or Auckland, but in an actual fact Te Anau sits around the average for New Zealand at 1,200mm per year. Interestingly Fiordland National Park which sits right opposite Te Anau on the western side of the lake, gets between around 6,000mm of rain each year. This is down to the mountain ranges in the Park, trapping weather systems before they get to the Te Anau township.

Average Temperatures: Across the year, Te Anau's temperature typically ranges from 1°C to 18°C, rarely falling below -3°C in winter or exceeding 30°C in summer.

Sunshine Hours: Te Anau enjoys decent sunlight throughout the year. The sunniest months are December and January, experiencing an average of 15 hours of sunshine per day. In contrast, the winter months of June and July have the shortest days with an average of 9 hours of sunshine per day.

A beautiful Te Anau sunset.

te anau weather

Te Anau is one of the last places in New Zealand to see the sun set (Milford Sound is also one of the latest), due to its location on the West Coast of New Zealand. From Te Anau township, the sun will set down behind the South Fjord of Lake Te Anau, or between the Murchison Mountains to the right and the Kepler Mountains to the left. Often you will get large streaks of purple, orange and red in the sky, particularly in winter as the reflection from snow causes different intensities of light.

Our suggestion for the perfect sunset view is to either be on the lakefront, especially round to the north of Te Anau, or sit back at the Moose Bar & Restaurant for a drink as the sun disappears in front of you. In the months of January - March, there is also a late Te Anau Glowworms Cave tour starting at 8:15pm, of which the return journey across the lake is close to the exact time of sunset, making for a beautiful sight from the boat.

What is the best time to travel to Te Anau?

It may seem cliche, but every time is a good time to visit Te Anau as there is always something to do and we jump into that next, but statistically January is the warmest month (although not the driest), and July is the month with less rain on average. However if you are looking for the right balance between dry and warm, then February is a popular choice.

When it comes to Milford Sound, it is not a bad thing to strike some rain, this actually makes the landscape even more wild and thrilling due to the hundreds of waterfalls that appear on the mountain faces from above. It is a sight to behold. Check out our article here on the best stops to make on the way to Milford Sound in the wet.


Average Temperature

Average Rainfall


17 Degrees



16.4 Degrees



14.8 Degrees



11.8 Degrees



9 Degrees



6.3 Degrees



5.7 Degrees



7 Degrees



9.1 Degrees



10.9 Degrees



12.9 Degrees



15.4 Degrees


Things to do in Te Anau when wet.

te anau glowworm caves

Te Anau Glowworm Caves.

The most popular attraction in Te Anau, no matter the weather. It does not matter if it is raining across the area when it comes to the Caves as it does not have an affect on the tour and for most of it you are underground anyway. In some cases,. the Caves will be even better with a bit of rain as it increases the intensity of the chasms underground which are fed by Lake Orbell high up in the Murchison Mountains.

The Te Anau Glowworm Caves tour is run by RealNZ and prices start at $99. Luxe Tours also has a package deal with our Milford Sound Day Tour & the Glowwowrm Caves, with some overall saving for combining the two through us.

Fiordland Cinema.

If you're looking for a relaxing afternoon or evening, head to Fiordland Cinemas to watch a movie. The cinema shows a variety of films, including the latest blockbusters and documentaries about Fiordland's natural and cultural heritage. Large bucket seats and a full alcohol bar and snacks are available, which can be delivered to you during an intermission of the movie, a real personal touch. Bookings are essential for popular movies. The cinema sits beside 'Black Dog Bar', a popular evening cocktail bar and a great place to start or finish your night.

Te Anau Escape Room.

For a fun and challenging activity, try your hand at Fiordland Escapes, Te Anau's first escape room. Work together with your team to solve a series of puzzles and escape from the room within 60 minutes. It's a great way to test your problem-solving skills and have fun with friends or family.

Kepler Track - To Dock or Brod Bay (light rain).

If it is lightly raining or off and on, a surprising choice can be a short walk on the famous Kepler Track located on the western shores of the lake. Starting from the control gates at the south end of the lake after a short 5-min drive from Te Anau, you can walk around to Dock Bay (30-40mins) or Brod Bay (60-80mins). The track is under the canopy of the native Fiordland National Park forest and apart from a few drips, you should be absolutely fine. This part of the track is rated easy and comfortable closed in walking shoes should suffice. You can visit the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre on the lakefront for more information however these short walks are quite simple and very enjoyable.

Being prepared for any Te Anau weather.

Kepler track te anau

Te Anau's weather can be unpredictable, making it essential to pack appropriately for your trip. A good-quality rain jacket is a must. If you plan to hike, bring decent hiking shoes if doing more than just a short day walk to Dock or Brod Bay. If you are planning on doing the Kepler Track from Te Anau, or either of the Milford or Routeburn Tracks, then you need to plan accordingly as this is much more than just a short walk!

In summer, lightweight clothing is suitable, but it's a good idea to carry a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings. In winter, warm clothing, including thermal wear, gloves, and a hat, is necessary as Te Anau is known to get days of snow either on the ground on in the mountains surrounding, creating a very chilly environment.

Te Anau weather vs Milford Sound weather.

southern alps

Milford Sound is one of the wettest places in New Zealand, and the world for that matter. The Southern Alps, which border Milford Sound, trap weather systems over the west coast and dump many days of rain over Milford - in fact 182 days and almost 7,000mm on average every year.

While Milford is only 120km from Te Anau, the two get very different weather for the reasons mentioned earlier about Te Anau. However one easy rule you can remember is - if it is raining or snowing in Te Anau then there is a high chance it is as well on the way into and in Milford Sound. This is where caution should be applied to driving the Milford Road, particulary in winter when there can often be snow on the road between Hollyford Valley and the Homer Tunnel.

In summary - don't be afraid of Te Anau's weather as it is starkly different to Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound which are much, much wetter. Winter days can be cool and crisp but stunningly beautiful. Summer brings the opportunity to enjoy swimming in the lake, cycling around the lakes edge and enjoying any of the walks in the area. Be prepared - our article on 'What to bring to Milford Sound' is a similar guide to what you will need in the Te Anau or Fiordland National Park area.

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