Day 9: Devil’s Staircase, Manapouri, Te Anau

Plan for the day

After Queenstown our next destination was Lake Manapouri which was about 179  km, two hours and 10 minutes drive away. It would not take long to reach Lake Manapouri and along the way we did not expect many stops for sightseeing.

We intended to spend the morning exploring downtown of Queenstown and to drive towards Lake Manapouri in the late morning or early afternoon.

Route for the day

Route for the day

By end of the day

We reached Manapouri, a town by Lake Manapouri, at about 3.30 pm and checked into our “hotel” early. Manapouri was an extremely tiny and quiet town. There was no supermarket, probably just one restaurant and one cafe both of which looked closed. It was too quiet so we ended up travelling 20 km to the next town, Te Anau, for some lives and dinner.

Queenstown Sherwood Hotel

We had spent two nights at Sherwood Hotel, beside the carpark and our room we had not ventured out into other parts of the hotel compound. In the daytime, we were out most of the day and by the time we were back to the hotel it was way past 11 pm and most of the hotel facilities were already closed for the day.

So before checking out this morning we walked around the hotel compound to find out what it had to offer. There was a pub and a restaurant.

Queenstown Sherwood Hotel

Queenstown Sherwood Hotel – Pub and Restaurant

Behind the pub, was a game room, a bicycle rental place and sauna room for guests. On the notice board we saw daily schedule for Yoga and Well-Being classes for interested participants. This was the first hotel we had stayed so far on this trip that had organised recreation activities for its guests. Too bad, in our travelling schedule we did not cater any time for all these recreations.

Queenstown Sherwood Hotel - Recreation

Queenstown Sherwood Hotel – Recreation

Breakfast at ferg

We drove into downtown at about 10 am searching for a place for breakfast. The day before we were in town early so we did not see many people. Today at 10 am the place were crowded, many people  were strolling along the shops and stores. We saw a huge long queue outside a shop that looked like an eatery.

I told Yat Thong that the food must be good and we  must try it. We found a place to park our car and walked to the eatery. The name of the place was FergBurger. A  burger joint selling beef burger founded by a Mrs Ferg? (I saw the words MRS FERG along the way)

Location of FergBurger

Location of FergBurger (co-ords:-45.031757, 168.659491)

Apparently we had stumbled on “New Zealand best burger joint” which had also become a famous tourist attraction. The queue was long and the place was chaotic. There walls of photos showing visits to this joint by all sort of “famous people”. A huge menu hung up on another section of the wall showed the prices. Wow, gourmet burger?

Mrs Ferg Burger


The beef burgers were very pricey ranging from NZD$11.50 to NZD$18.50 for one. We ordered two burgers and had to wait for a long time for them to be done. Our burgers were the cheapest ones at NZD$11.50 each, it definitely tasted yummy and juicy better then McDonald burgers but still too pricey.

Delicious Burger

Delicious Burgers

Ferg had two other stores next to FergBurger, they were a Gelato cum coffee store and a bakery. There two stores had no crowd at all and I did not have to wait very long to get our morning cafe lattes to go with our burgers.

More Mrs Ferg

More Mrs Ferg

On our way to LAKE mANAPOURI

By early afternoon we were done with Queenstown and ready to move on. Our drive to Manapouri was about 180 km. For the first 45 km we were driving along the bank of the lower section of Lake Wakatipu. The drive was very scenic especially at the section near to Devil’s Staircase.

Route to Devil's Staircase

Route to Devil’s Staircase

The road curved in and out along the contour of the mountain ranges hugging the lake. We stopped at two locations where there were wide set-in at the side of the road for our car and came out to admire the scenery.


From Queenstown to Lake Manapouri

Devils Staircase  (co-ords: -45.245685, 168.742958)

The day before we were at Bennett Bluff, a scenic point on the northern section of Lake Wakatipu and today Devil’s Staircase on the southern section of the lake. The scenery at both Bennett Bluff and Devil’s Staircase were beautiful but of the two, Bennett Bluff was definitely way better.


By about 3.30 pm we reached Manapouri, a town on the edge of a lake by the same name, Lake Manapouri. The town was very smal, it had one main road and a couple of side roads. We would be staying in this town and had booked a Studio Motel with Manapouri Motel and Holiday Parks for two nights.

We had chosen to stay in Manapouri town because of its proximity to “Real Journey” jetty location which was the starting point of our cruise to Doubtful Sound. Our cruise would start early in the morning at 8 am and we had to be at the jetty 20 minutes before that. Staying near meant we needed not wake up too early.

Before going to our motel we drove down to “Real Journey” jetty just to get familiar with the place. Once done we were off to our “Studio Motel”.

Map of Manapouri Town

Map of Manapouri Town

Manapouri Motel and Holiday Park was along the main road, very easy to find. We checked in at the “reception” and was shown to our studio motel. Our studio motel was actually the first level of a two storey house. We could park our car just by the door that led into the kitchen of our studio motel. Very convenient!


Our studio motel which we paid for NZD$110 a night was very comfortable. The room was large with a queen size bed, sofa, TV and dining table. What I like about the room was its big size windows that looked out to the lake. The motel came with a self contained kitchen which had an oven, a stove top, cooking utensils and a electrical hot cooking plate. We loved this place!

Unit A interior

Studio Motel A – interior

Studio Motel A was more of an apartment than a simple room. A very nice and pleasant place for those who wanted to be away from the busy busy world, who wanted to stay in the comfort of the room and still enjoy the beautiful view of the lake. Even the kitchen came with the lake view.

Toilet and shower

Studio Motel A – Toilet and shower

dinner in Te Anua

I was all excited about cooking a simple dinner for both of us. Since the kitchen was equipped with a proper stove, it would be very easy for me to cook a delicious dish. We just needed to grab a few stuffs from the supermarket. Unfortunately the news from the motel owner was – there was no supermarket in town, not even a small convenient store. The nearest supermarket was in Te Anau, the next town which was 21 km and 17 minutes drive away.

Route from Manapouri to Te Anau

Route from Manapouri to Te Anau

We had no choice but to hop into the car and drive toward Te Anau. We had expected Te Anau to be slightly bigger than Manapouri Town but we were wrong, it was a great deal larger. At Te Anau there were many cafes, shops and restaurants but they were NOT crowded at all. November was off tourist season which account for the low traffic in this place. Te Anau would have been a better place to stay compared to Manapouri Town at this time of the year as it had all the amenities but without the crowd.

We parked our car at a carpark along a beach facing the sea. It was a good view-point to see the sun set. As the sun set, it rays turned the entire Lake Te Anau into a liquid gold pool, very lovely. We were so captivated by the beautiful sunset and stayed too long at the beach that by the time we reached the supermarket it was already closing time.

Te Anau Waterfront

Te Anau Waterfront

Since we could not buy our grocery we decided to forgo the idea of cooking our dinner and dine out. Near the supermarket was a restaurant, named “The Fat Duck”. It looked nice so we went in for dinner. The Fat Duck must be a popular restaurant because all its tables were filled and we had to wait for 20 minutes before a table was available.

Fine Dining at Fat Duck, Te Anau

Fine Dining at Fat Duck, Te Anau

Despite the name of the restaurant, duck was not on its menu. We ordered “Twice Cooked Pork belly” and “Wild Fiordland Venision Shanks” and for these two dishes the cost came up to NZD $69. The meal was delicious and considering that this was fine dining, we thought the price was reasonable.

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