Cycle Trails

Lake to Lake

The scenic bike trail runs along the Waiau river between Te Anau to Manapouri and is suitable for families and riders of all skill levels. Explore the beauty of the area and stop for plenty of photos (you’ll want to take lots!!). The Waiau River is world famous and renowned for its breath-taking scenery, bird-song, trout fishing and much more.

Grade

Duration

Best time to ride

Currently OPEN and clear. Be aware in mid winter, some parts of the trail can be very cold all day. Be sure to bring spare layers, winter gloves and a beanie.

The scenic bike trail runs along the Waiau river between Te Anau to Manapouri and is suitable for families and riders of all skill levels!

Getting transport to the end of the trail, or part way along gives you freedom to head back to Te Anau at your own pace. This allows time to explore the beauty of the area and stop for plenty of photos (you’ll want to take lots!!). The Waiau River is world famous and renowned for its breath-taking scenery, bird-song, trout fishing and much more.

Trail Tips

Here’s some of our top tips to help you enjoy your time out on the trails. 

If you want help with itineraries, bike hire, transport or accommodation we can help. 

Make sure your bike is in top condition for the trails. If you need a tune up, come see us at our Bike Workshop in Te Anau, or hire a bike for the day.

  • Day bag
  • Water
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen + insect repellent
  • Sunglasses
  • Sturdy footwear
  • Windbreaker jacket

Talk to us about transport back from Manapouri. Or we can drop you at your chosen starting point. Transport is not needed to start the trail from Te Anau town center. Once you are on the lakefront, the trail start is easy to find and easy to follow.

The Lake 2 Lake Cycle trail requires no technical skill level. Only basic riding skills and a little experience is required.

The surface of the trail is gravel. This means that the trail, although not a long distance, can take longer to ride than most people realize.

The Lake 2 Lake trail follows along the Waiau River, but is far from a flat trail. Unless you would like to get a good workout on a standard bike, an Ebike is highly recommended. The rolling hills quickly add up making this trail a little more difficult with fitness (on a standard bike) than most people realize.

There is no food or water along the cycle trail. Make sure you have everything you need before leaving town.

Native Bird Park. Nestled on the shores of Lake Te Anau, the bird sanctuary is home to many of NZ’s rare native bird species. The cycle trail goes straight through the bird park, so you can’t miss it. Definitely worth a look on your way through.

Waiau River Control Gates. This is a great spot on a clear day to see all the way up to the head of Lake Te Anau, looking back towards the township. One of the best photo spots on the lakefront. Not long after passing the control gates, you will get to a very short section on a quiet sealed access road. If you continue 100m past where the cycle trail continues through the forest, you will find signs pointing you to one of our local favourite lookout spots with epic views all the way back up to the head of Lake Te Anau.

Queens Reach. This was one of the first sealed roads in Southland. It was built for Queen Elizabeth on one of her visits to NZ so she could go trout fishing in the Waiau River. Unfortunately she became mildly ill and could not go fishing while she was here.

Rainbow Reach swing bridge. A beautiful old swing bridge built to access the start or finish of the Kepler Great Walk. A spectacular section of river that is worth having a look. Note that bikes are not permitted across the river on the Kepler Track.

Manapouri township. There are a few nice spots to explore while in Manapouri. Be sure to check out Pearl Harbour at the mouth of the Lower Waiau River.

Stop for lunch at The Church, an old church building beautifully converted in to an old restaurant and bar. Yummy food and great coffee. Be sure to call ahead to book a table if you plan on having lunch here.
This is also our main pick up spot for bike transfers heading back to Manapouri.

Te Anau is the perfect base to explore many of the areas trails. There are lots of accommodation options, for all budgets – talk to us about the best place to stay for your trip.

Renting bikes from Manapouri can be difficult. Please plan your Lake 2 Lake cycle day carefully as we do not often have extra vehicles or drivers that can bring a bike to Manapouri for you. We do not keep rental bikes in Manapouri. The best place to rent a bike is from Te Anau. From there, you can choose to start and finish at Bike Fiordland HQ, or we can pick you up in Manapouri for a ride home in a comfy shuttle van.

Tours in the area

Self guided or group guided. 5 star accommodation and vehicle assistance every step of the way.

4 Days or longer

Easy

from $2199

4 day tour of Around the Mountains with a day on the Lake 2 Lake trail

4 Days

Easy

from $1,199pp incl bike hire

6 day tour using back country boutique accommodation. Average 3 hours per day with lots of time to explore.

6 Days

Easy

from $1,899 incl bike hire

Are you ready to explore?

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