Lake Gunn Nature Walk

Lake Gunn Nature Walk - Milford Road, Fiordland National Park

Lake Gunn Nature Walk

Milford Road, Fiordland National Park


20 Rankers Reviews

16 Face-to-Face

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


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1.2 km return | 45 minutes return

The loop track passes through red beech forest and gives glimpses of the birdlife typical of the Eglinton Valley. Side trips can be made to several lake beaches and sheltered fishing spots.


75 km from Te Anau along Milford Road, turn left at the signpost to Cascade Creek. The parking area by the start of the track is signposted shortly after on the right.


The wide metalled track shortly forks to form a loop. Following the loop clockwise, make sure you take the short detour to the outlet of Lake Gunn. You’ll realise why when you’re there.

Back on the main loop there a few informal side tracks to the edge of Lake Gunn, with benches provided by narrow pebbled beaches on the lake’s southern shores.

The rest of the track continues to pass through the luxuriant forest, dominated by some massive red beech tress. An unusual number seem to be scarred with burls. Look also for the damaged areas caused by wind bombs.


Damage sustained by wind bombs are a feature of the landscape in narrow, steep sided valley areas. When storms occur, the rapid up movement of air associated with convective rainfall is balanced by a downdraught, which can be tremendously fierce. In some instances it can strip a tree of branches and create a light well, as seen in sections of the walk.

The red beech here are particularly lofty.

European History

Lake Gunn was named after George Gunn. In 1861 with David McKellar, the two wealthy Southland runholders climbed Key Summit (on today’s Routeburn Track) at the Divide and spied the lake. They also took note of the Hollyford Valley, which they felt was too densely timbered to be of use as pasture. Gunn eventually emigrated to Mexico, where he was murdered over a land dispute.


Feature Value Info


DOC Fiordland

Central government organisation


South IslandFiordlandMilford Sound - Fiordland National Park


  • Walking
  • Free


Showing 13 reviews of 17.

Scott Lindique's avatar

Scott Lindique

Ranking: 8/10

Good camp site if you get there early ( 4pm ) otherwise pretty average. Lots of toilets and cleanish. Water supply is plentiful.
Road around the campground is very dusty in summer. Overall good for a one night stop over.

Reviewed 7 months ago

andrew's avatar


Ranking: 7/10

nice walk

Reviewed almost 3 years ago

Raphaele's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

One of the best stops along the war to Milford. The walk through the rainforest is easy, beautiful and not overcrowded with tourists. Beautiful and tranquil view of Lake Gunn.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Marilli's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

That’s the only walk I will rate because it was so awesome 😍
You feel like the trees are alive in there! So beautiful

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Thank You - to the thousands of travellers that have contributed to our Top Voted NZ Activities Map - it's free from Rankers.

Amy Smith's avatar

Amy Smith


Ranking: 6/10

Pretty walk and relatively easy but at times the correct route is unclear and muddy which can lead to some confusion.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

Sam Howard's avatar

Sam Howard

United Kingdom

Ranking: 8/10

Beautiful, really interesting walk through the forest. Felt a lot like Lord of the Rings territory. Could have been better signposted around the Lake.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

Jacques Scohy's avatar

Jacques Scohy


Ranking: 8/10

Short walk inside a fairy forest that looks like Lord of the Rings decor.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in February 2017

Alvaro Rodriguez's avatar

Alvaro Rodriguez


Ranking: 10/10

Easy 30 minute track from Cascade Creek with beautiful views of Lake Gunn at the end.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in March 2016

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Ferry and Carlyn's avatar

Ferry and Carlyn


Ranking: 10/10

Easy path, beautiful forest and amazing view of Lake Gunn. Well maintained.

Reviewed about 6 years ago and experienced in January 2016

Leonie Prendeville's avatar

Leonie Prendeville


Ranking: 9/10

It is only a short walk but it is absolutely beautiful. We felt like we were in Fanghorn Forest from Lord of the Rings. It is great

Reviewed about 6 years ago and experienced in January 2016

Alina Hummel's avatar

Alina Hummel


Ranking: 7/10

Get a nice impression of New Zealand's landscape on a short walk (30 minutes).

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Janis Gallois's avatar

Janis Gallois


Ranking: 10/10

Perfect lake and good/interesting nature walk.

Reviewed about 8 years ago and experienced in February 2014

Renate's avatar



Ranking: 9/10

Very impressive plants especially the trees and ferns.

Reviewed almost 9 years ago and experienced in February 2013

DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick

Rankers Owner