With world-class service, an unbeatable location right on Lake Te Anau, and impeccable rooms with stylish decor and self-catering facilities, Radfords on the Lake offers a comfortable stay for incredible value.

I’ll be honest and say that New Zealand’s motel scene isn’t particularly impressive. My past experiences have mostly been in small, cramped rooms, with dingy bathrooms, flickering lights and patchy WiFi.

I usually wouldn’t opt for a motel, boutique hotels or hostels are more my thing, but after a strong recommendation from a friend I decided to give Radfords on the Lake a try. And oh my gosh, how glad am I that I did?!

As soon as I arrived at Radfords, sitting across the road from the lake in Te Anau, it already felt like a home away from home. Kerri, one of the owners, is an absolute gem and made me feel so welcome, as she does with all her customers according to the reviews. And as an added bonus, they had a fluffy mascot called Dexter who was equally as friendly.

If you already love the sound of Radfords and want to lock in your visit you can book online here, and if you’d like to read more just scroll down for my detailed review.


Where is Radfords on the Lake?

Radfords is right on the lake, obviously, in Te Anau, which is best known as the gateway to Fiordland National Park and the stunning Milford Sound.

Te Anau is a small town, you can walk to the main street’s shops and eateries in just a few minutes from the hotel, and lake activities like sea planes and cruises are literally right across the road. Too easy.


About Radfords on the Lake

Radfords is an award-winning 5* luxury motel, offering studio rooms as well as 1- and 2-bedroom apartments. They’ve received accolades from Qualmark (New Zealand’s tourism assurance organisation) as well as the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards, where they’re recognised as being in the top 1% of tourism businesses in the world.

Kerri and Steve are long-time Te Anau locals, and they embody the Kiwi hospitality spirit. There will always be someone at or near reception to answer your questions or give you travel tips for the area.

The motel prides itself on sustainability, holding the Qualmark Gold Sustainability Award, and they’re involved with a number of community projects to keep the local environment thriving.


The room

I stayed in a studio apartment on the second floor, with an incredible lake view.

My room was HUGE, so much space to unpack and repack my suitcases (long-term travellers will know what I mean!).

The super-king bed was dreamy, it was one of the best sleeps I had on this South Island road trip. I’m a sucker for a lush bed and this one was hard to drag myself out of the next morning.

The room had excellent heating, it was nice and toasty despite the fact I was there in the middle of winter.

In terms of furniture there was a big TV, a desk, two chairs and a small table. The kitchen had a mini-fridge, microwave and a stove top, and the bathroom was basic but with great shower pressure, all you need in a motel.

The room included all the extras you’d need too, like fast WiFi, plunger coffee and tea bags, a hairdryer, an iron and so on.

A continental breakfast tray is included when you check in too, with toast and spreads, muesli and yoghurt, seasonal fruits and juice.


The views

Lake Te Anau is New Zealand’s second-largest lake and it’s pretty damn stunning. Radfords gives you the best view in town, and if you want to get closer you can be at the lake’s edge in just twenty seconds.


The area

Te Anau is a lesser known part of New Zealand, but it’s well worth adding on to any South Island itinerary.

There are plenty of things to do in Te Anau but the obvious one would be to visit Milford Sound. It’s just under 120km to drive there (only one way in and out) but I’d recommend setting aside at least two hours because you’re going to want to stop at a lot of photo spots!

If you’re planning on heading there via car, here are some top tips for driving to Milford Sound from Te Anau.

And if you don’t want to drive, you can take a bus tour, small group tour, private tour or even a scenic flight.

Other Te Anau must-dos are the Faith in Fiordland boat trip (Winston Churchill has been on this boat, true story!), seeing an endangered Takahe at the bird sanctuary, renting an e-bike and hitting the Lake2Lake trail from Te Anau to Manapouri, seeing the glowworm caves, or heading on a Doubtful Sound cruise.


The verdict on Radfords on the Lake

The type of place that gives motels a good name. The service is next level, the rooms were beautifully designed, the bed was comfortable and it had everything you’d need for a base for Fiordland adventures.

If you want to head to Milford Sound without having to rush, I highly recommend spending a night or two in Te Anau to make your trip easier, and Radfords is the perfect place to stay.


Book your stay at Radfords on the Lake

Rooms at Radfords on the Lake start at $228 and you can book online here.


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I was kindly hosted by Radfords on the Lake but as always all opinions are my own and are 100% based on my personal experience.

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