Travellers ‘shake off cobwebs’ in Fiordland

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Invercargill woman Helen McEwen feeds Burns the alpaca at Kepler Mountain View Alpacas in Te Anau on Sunday. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

ADVENTURE seekers flocked to Te Anau during Queen’s Birthday Weekend for a chance to “shake off the cobwebs”.

For the first three-day weekend since lockdown, Fiordland tourism operators encouraged locals and domestic travellers to make the most of their own backyard for a discounted rate.

Fiordland Outdoors co-owner Christine Wallace said the purpose of offering the weekend deals was “two-fold”.

“We want to show people that Te Anau is still alive and kicking but also get people to shake off the cobwebs from lockdown and just get back out in nature.”

At discounted rates, the Kepler water taxi transported 100 people across Lake Te Anau to Brod Bay on the Kepler track, she said.

From there, visitors could choose between hiking to Luxmore Hut or taking a flatter track around the bay.

“It’s about livening the place up again. Town’s been quite busy, actually, I was really surprised by that, it’s been great.”

Plenty of locals had taken up the offer to “make the most of the
sunshine”, as well as travellers from throughout the south, she said.

“It’s really good to get a positive vibe going and just welcome New Zealanders to Fiordland.”

Kepler Mountain View Alpacas owners Jessie and Ray Haanen said the business added three extra alpaca encounters to their schedule to make room for weekend visitors.

“There were definitely more people than we normally get on Queen’s Birthday Weekend,” Mrs Haanen said.

Children were invited to visit one of the three alpaca tours available on the farm for free.

While the farm had been open since Alert Level 2, business had started to pick up during the past few days.

“A lot of people don’t have the opportunity to come see alpacas and they’re right here in our backyard.”

Te Anau Glowworm Caves tours launched its campaign which meant tours sold out.

Wayfare corporate communications manager Tsehai Tiffin said six groups toured on Saturday and Sunday, while two visited on Monday.

Fiordland Jet co-owner Chris Adams said while there were plenty of people in Te Anau, the fog made it difficult for boat trips to head out.

“We are up and running all weekend but we had to cancel all trips yesterday [Saturday] for safety reasons because of the fog.”

However, one trip was able to go out on Sunday and he was hoping for better weather on Monday, he said. “We really want to thank all the people who came along.”

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