Avg. Time : 3 days
Start / Finish :
- Te Anau
- No transport required. Simply walk 4.5km out of town to the trailhead.
Season : October – April.
Maps / Info :
- As with all the Great Walks, the Kepler is a proverbial highway of a trail, upon which it would be very difficult to lose your way.
- Check the NZ Department of Conservation (DOC) website for up-to-date information and a basic map of the track: www.doc.govt.nz.
- Lonely Planet’s Tramping in New Zealand guidebook has trekking notes and a basic map of the walk.
- All supplies can be purchased in Te Anau.
Route / Conditions :
- The ridge section between Mt. Luxmore hut and Hanging Valley shelter is the scenic highlight.
- The short side-trip to the summit of Mt. Luxmore (20 minutes) is worthwhile, offering a spectacular 360 degree panorama in fine weather.
- Despite the relatively mellow nature of the trail, the Kepler is nonetheless an Alpine crossing and hikers should pack accordingly.
- Drinking water is available at the huts.
- If you want to avoid the crowds, consider hiking very early in the mornings or late in the afternoons.
- Huts or camping. Both need to be booked in advance.
- Being a designated Great Walk, the Kepler is a very popular trail and attracts people of all levels of experience and fitness. As a result, the huts are often quite full. Bring a tent if you want some privacy.
- Lots of sandflies if camping at Iris Burn.
- Not long past Moturau hut, there is a side trail leading to Shallow Bay hut, a smaller (only six beds), cheaper accommodation option. Camping also possible. No bookings required.
- All water at Shallow Bay should be treated or purified. Alternatively, load up at Moturau Hut, which is just 20-30 minutes away.
- The Kepler is the most accessible of the Great Walks, allowing walkers to start and finish in Te Anau without any of the usual associated transport costs.
- As mentioned above, the ridge section after Mt. Luxmore boasts beautiful alpine scenery. The second half of the trail is virtually all through Beech and Podocarp forests.