Boating NZ : FREE TO READ April 2014
Lake Te Anau Words and photos by Craig Hart T owering mountains and dramatic waterfalls make an awe-inspiring backdrop to Lake Te Anau. Just over two hours from Queenstown and Invercargill, the lake borders Fiordland National Park and the Wahipounamu World Heritage Area, with State Highway 94 running alongside half of its eastern shore. Most visitors here will be travelling to Milford Sound or about to embark on the boat ride to the start of the Milford Track. The Kepler Track, another New Zealand Great Walk, starts on the shore at the opposite end of the lake but for adventurers in trailerable powerboats or trailer yachts, the lake is a way to access isolated anchorages among the mountains. The township of Te Anau at the southern end of the lake provides the services and supplies needed to top up fuel tanks and jerry cans, purchase fishing gear and fill the picnic basket. Numerous bays close to town allow you to drop the pick or beach the boat for a picnic, to water ski or explore. Brod Bay is one of the most popular, sheltered and safe for swimming. Lake Te Anau can be boated year-round although in winter temperatures are crisp and mornings are often frosty. Fiordland weather is notoriously changeable and, even with a good forecast, boaties need to be prepared for all conditions. Strong winds, heavy rain, cold temperatures and even snow can occur at any time. The Roaring Forties airstream picks up moisture from across the Tasman Sea and slams it into the mountains, dumping heavy rain in the west and snow on the mountain tops. Most of the lake and fiords are exposed to the wind which usually strengthens in the afternoons. This can create a confused wind pattern where it meets the main body of the lake. The fiord winds pack more punch than those on the main lake. Be aware that rivers can rise quickly during heavy rainfall, so take care if leaving your boat to explore rivers and creeks when rain is forecast. Summer brings average temperatures of between 10 and 20 degrees and between 0 and 10 degrees in winter. Before departing up the lake, make sure someone knows where you are going and take some form of communication device: VHF – Channel 63 is monitored by Bluff Fishermen’s Radio and Mountain Radio – flares and an EPIRB. Mobile phone coverage is non-existent in the fiords and can be unreliable elsewhere. Anchorage depths range considerably around the shores, particularly in the fiords where it can be too deep alongside the steeper mountains and rock faces. Most anchoring means beach nosing into the shore for short stays or dropping anchor and using a stern line back to the shore and around a tree for any extended stays. A depth sounder is a great accessory for helping to determine a suitable place to anchor. Keep an eye out for branches and logs floating in the lake as these are often washed down the rivers during Many of the South Island’s magnificent lakes and rivers allow trailerable powerboats and trailer sailers to explore isolated, dramatic mountain scenery within hours of leaving the boat ramp. Lake Te Anau is one of them. beauty Souther n 58 Boating New Zealand April 2014 FEATURE_Te Anau_April14.indd 58 19/03/2014 11:45:56 a.m.
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