From Te Anau, Lake Manapouri is just a 20 minute drive and well worthwhile. Frasers Beach in front of Manapouri township is quite superb. Its white shingly beach and the azure blue of the lake are framed by green bush, yellow and purple flowers and the Fiordland mountains in the distance. Apparently sunset can be special here.
Plenty of places to stop and picnic but beware of the sandflies.
Manapouri's Pearl Harbour is pleasant and there is a 3 hour walk on the other side of the river with a good view of the lake (the Circle Track).
Ask at the store about getting across the river by dinghy or water taxi.
Boats leave from here to go the other end of the lake for the West Arm Power Station and Doubtful Sound.
Kepler Track Day Walk
To experience a small slice of the famed Kepler Track we headed round Lake Te Anau (by car, saves an extra 3 hour's walk), via the Wildlife Centre and the Control Gates to Rainbow Reach.
The Wildlife Centre seemed rather devoid of wildlife on our visit, aside from the rare and elusive Takahe who did put in an appearance to make the stop worthwhile. The walk round the lake to here is very pleasant if that's all you have time for.
The Control Gates the regulate the flow of water between Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri. Seems to be a popular spot with the native tuis.
At Rainbow Reach there is a carpark and you set off across the Waiau River on a long swing bridge. (Turn left after the bridge). The track affords great views of the river and you'll soon see where the Rainbow Reach name comes from - massive rainbow trout seem prodigious in the water below.
The track becomes a wooded grove of prehistoric beech trees and is reminiscent of scenes from The Lord of the Rings. In fact scenes of the film were filmed here.
This is normally the final leg of the Kepler Track. From Rainbow Reach we walk to Moturau Bay on Lake Manapouri - allow a good 3-4 hours return.
For added variety, the track passes a wetland area and the stunning vista that finally greets you at Lake Manapouri makes the walk well worthwhile.