Located near Te Anau, it is one of Te Anau's longest-standing visitor attractions. The Te Anau Trout Observatory is home to various well looked after Rainbow and Brown Trout, plus a few NZ Native Kōura. With an entry fee of just $2.00 per person, it is one of the most affordable tourist attractions in New Zealand.
"Hands down the best trout observatory I have ever visited. Would highly recommend."
The Trout Observatory was constructed back in the early 1970s by two Te Anau locals, Lance Shaw and Les Cooper. Their creation over 40 years ago has seen thousands of happy visitors through its gates. Previous to it becoming a Trout Observatory, it was run by Ward Beer as a trout hatchery that supplied trout to most Southland waters.
The Brown Trout is a European Native that was introduced to NZ in the late 1860s. The Brown Trout adapted well to their new environment in NZ and are now NZ's most common and widespread species of trout. Brown Trout are found mainly in freshwater, although they are known to spend time in salt-water environments also.
Kōura, also known as the freshwater crayfish, live in freshwater environments such as streams, lakes or ponds. They can be found nestled amongst the stony or muddy bottoms and can be difficult to find during the day as they are well camouflaged with their dark green, mottled colouring. They are most active at night.
Rainbow Trout were introduced into New Zealand from North America in 1883. Although they were more difficult to establish than Brown Trout, they are now found throughout New Zealand and are a sought-after species for game fishermen. The Rainbow Trout are typically 2-3kgs in weight and 500-600mm in length.
The Te Anau Trout Observatory is located at 2A Lakefront Drive, Te Anau. To get to the Trout Observatory from the Te Anau Town Centre, it is a 10-minute walk along the beautiful shores of Lake Te Anau. This is across from the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre (Department of Conservation Headquarters) and close to the Te Anau Lakeview Holiday Park.