Te Anau Trout Observatory

Come and enjoy one of Te Anau's favourite attractions. The Trout Observatory has been in operation for over 40 years and is still one of the best value things to do in Te Anau.
Open daily from dawn to dusk.

Learn More Feed the Trout

Welcome to the Te Anau Trout Observatory

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."

Tav Glynn Google Review - June 2019

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.

Two brown trout swimming along a stony-bottomed river.
Brown Trout

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.

Close up of a kōura, or New Zealand freshwater crayfish, sitting atop a rocky outcrop.

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.

A rainbow trout swimming through the water
Rainbow Trout

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.

This is without a doubt THE must-see attraction in Te Anau. As soon as you enter through its mysterious gates, it is as though you have been transported to a new dimension where you begin to truly understand mother nature, seemingly for the first time.

One cannot help but marvel at the wonder of the trout as they glide through the water, almost as if dancing... almost as if sending a subliminal message reminding us how fragile this Earth really is.

I couldn't help but shed a tear as I beared witness to this glorious display of beauty and of bravery. It certainly was a sight to behold, and a moment im sure will stay with me for life.

Zerah Gallardo
Google Review, October 2019

Decided NZ would be my final trip as I was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer. Was hard to forget this fact during the holiday, it was mostly filled with chronic depression. Then low and behold, the Trout Observitory! In the dank, dark underbelly of Te Anau, this place took my breath away, literally. However, when I awoke from this ordeal amidst the stunning fish, to my amazement, all the pain had left my body. Later confirmed by my senior physician, the Trout had sent my cancer into remission. I couldn't reccomended this miracle of an establishment more. Please help keep it alive.

Caleb Scott
Google Review, November 2018

Te Anau is probably best known as the gateway to Milford Sound; in fact, the number one drawcard for this little town should actually be the Trout Observatory. What outstanding value for $2! As another reviewer noted, it does have a charming public toilet vibe, and from the moment you stumble across the hidden entrance and make your way down into the dank chamber under ground, you will be enchanted. Amazingly, we had this gem all to ourselves, allowing unobstructed viewing (once we cleared the glass of condensation with the scraper someone had thoughtfully provided) of the slightly miserable but large trout (they did however appear to brighten as they noted our admiration for their enclosure). Before you stumble up the stairs back into the light, don’t forget to check out the wee cray fish in his own wee tank (don’t tap the glass, however tempting, as this seems to scare him). We rate this attraction 11 out of 10 - a must see!

Larissa Darragh
Google Review, September 2018


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.

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