Kepler Track | Fiordland, New Zealand

Distance:  37.3 miles (60 km)img_2408

Average Time:  3 days

Start / Finish:

  • Te Anau
  • No transport required. Simply walk 4.5km out of town to the trailhead.

Season:  October – April.

Difficulty:   Easy

Maps / Info:

  • Online: For anything and everything pertaining to the Kepler Track, check the DOC website (i.e. Free downloadable brochure, trail map, trekking notes, logistical details, etc.).
  • Supplies: All provisions can be purchased in Te Anau.

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Route / Conditions:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Kepler Track Overview Map (DOC Website)

  • 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.

Sleeping:

  • 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.

Overview:

  • 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.

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