Manapōuri is a small village that is bordered by the picturesque Lake Manapōuri and the Lower Waiau River. It is a popular town for lake activities in the summer months and is the departure point for tours travelling through to Doubtful Sound. It is located just 20 kilometres from Te Anau, and interestingly, it is also New Zealand's westernmost town.
- Lake Manapouri: The town is situated on the eastern shore of Lake Manapouri, the second-deepest lake in New Zealand. The lake's stunning beauty, surrounded by rugged mountains, native forests and dotted with over 30 islands, is a popular Summer destination for boating, swimming, trout fishing and kayaking. Frasers Beach is a large sandy beach which is within walking distance of the town.
- Wilderness Experiences: Manapōuri serves as a gateway for visitors to explore the remote and untouched wilderness of Fiordland National Park. Many of the Doubtful Sound Tour departures leave from Manapōuri's Pearl Harbour by boat, as there are no direct roads to Doubtful Sound. You can also access various hiking trails, like the Circle Track, Back Valley Hut or Hope Arm Hut.
- Manapōuri Village: The small size and relatively remote location of Manapōuri have helped maintain a sense of tranquillity and natural beauty. Manapōuri offers a quiet and laid-back atmosphere, appealing to those seeking a genuine escape into nature. However, there is The Church Bar & Eatery for meals, the Cathedral Cafe for snacks & essential items, and a self-serve fuel station.
- Hydroelectric Power: Manapōuri is home to the Meridian Manapōuri Power Station, a significant hydroelectric power project. The power station is based at West Arm and was built to power the Aluminium Smelter at Tiwai near Bluff, 160km away. It was a huge engineering feat that involved the tributaries and waters of Lake Manapōuri, Lake Te Anau and the Upper & Lower Waiau Rivers.
The power station and turbines are housed 200 metres underground at West Arm, Lake Manapōuri. From this point, two great tunnels have been bored through the rock allowing the water to exit at Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound. The first tunnel was completed in 1971 after 8 years of hard toil by 1,800 workers using drill and blast techniques to get through the hard granite. The second tunnel was completed in 2002, with modern Tunnel Boring Technology making it considerably less dangerous, less labour intensive and took 4 years to complete.
The construction of the Hydo-Electric Power station was controversial at the time, as engineers wanted to raise the waters of Lake Manapōuri as much as 30 metres, which would have inundated many of the lake's islands and changed the foreshore considerably. The 'Save Manapōuri' campaign from 1969-1972 saw concerned Southland residents spark a nationwide environmental campaign to limit the level that Lakes Te Anau & Manapōuri could be modified. This campaign is often cited as New Zealand's first nationwide environmental awakening for the public of NZ. An interesting article can be found by New Zealand Geographic.
Talk to our friendly Reception team if you need more information!
Our friendly reception team can recommend which tour will be best for you, and they will make the bookings on your behalf (note that all reservations require a minimum of 24 hours' notice if you wish to change your plans).
Manapōuri Boat Cruise
Explore Manapōuri by Boat
Take a 2.5 hour cruise with your private group on stunning Lake Manapōuri. Bush-clad mountains, remote islands and sandy beaches. The friendly and knowledgeable skipper will ensure you have a memorable day!
Tour operates on demand throughout the year. Meet in either Te Anau or Manapōuri for your departure. Cruises are for up to 12 passengers and tour duration is 2.5 hours. Contact us to make reservations or book direct online through the Tracknet Website.
The Lake2Lake cycle trail is a Grade 2 (easy) well-maintained trail. Attack the full trail, or do one of the many smaller loops. The trail follows the Waiau River between Lakes Te Anau & Manapōuri. You are able to hire bicycles from the following outlets in Te Anau: