New Zealand
Hiking Photos


Check out all the Hiking & Tramping Photos in New Zealand.
More

 

New Zealand hikesNew Zealand Kepler Track

New Zealanders and overseas visitors have turned to unspoiled hills, forests and coasts of our magnificent New Zealand landscape in search of physical recreation and spiritual solace. The Kepler track is one of the safest tracks to be found in New Zealand's remote back country, free from river crossings, well marked and well provided with huts. It may be sensibly tackled by the inexperienced provided that their party includes one or two seasoned trampers or hikers. So go to it, embark on the discovery of our unequalled New Zealand natural landscape.

Discover Kepler Track, one of Fiordland National parks top destinations for tramping and hiking track adventures - the Kepler Track, Te Anau, New Zealand.

 
General Information

Kepler Track is a 4 day walking route through the Kepler Mountains in Fiordland National Park, the largest proected national area in New Zealand ( 1 210 000 ha). Officially opened in February 1988 as part of the National Park Centennial Year Celebrations, the Kepler Track passes through landscapes ranging from tall mossy forest to rocky mountain ridges, from lake shores to deep gorges. Kepler Track rivals any other New Zealand walking track for scenery and variety of natural history. Easily reached from the township of Te Anau ( 1 Hour walking, 10 minutes by vehicle), the Kepler Track can be walked and enjoyed by anybody with moderate outdoor ability and fitness.

All natives birds and flora are protected; plants must not be removed and domestic animals, such as dogs, are prohibited. All mammals (except bats) are introduced, noxious and fair game but hunting of these (e.g. red deer) is not allowed except by permit (consult park rangers). It is the responsibility of every traveller to see that the environment remains undamaged and unpolluted and is preserved as nearly as possible in its natural state. Information about both parks may be obtained from the official park handbooks, available at Government bookshops and all major booksellers.

Nearest Fiordland park station to the Kepler Track is the visitor centre at Te Anau, at the Fiordland Visitor Centre. Information and advice about travelling in the parks are freely available.

During the Kepler Track season ( mid November to May ) national park wardens are in attendance at all huts to collect hut fees, give advice and provide park interpretation. Huts are linked by radio so that wardens may monitor the movement of track walkers. Even so, for safety's sake, you must ensure that you register your group's names and intentions in national park hut books along the track.

 
Facts
Loop Track  
Time 4 - 5 days
From Te Anau Outlet , Brod Bay via Mount Luxmore
To Lake Te Anau
Distance 67 km
Huts 4 Great Walks Huts, 2 Great Walks Campsites
Grade medium
Highest Point
1270m, Luxmore Saddle
Lowest Point  
Maps To be Added
 
Features
  • Valley beech forest
  • Lakeside tracks and camping
  • Alpine tops with tremendous views over Lakes Manapouri and Te Anau
  • Four Huts, two alpine shelters
  • Good side-trips
  • High quality Track
  • Excellent transport to and from both track ends
 

Kepler Track is the newest and boldest of the ' big' tracks in New Zealand, and the construction of huts and tracks has been carried out to a very high standard. Kepler Track was specifically designed to overcome a number of problems encountered on tracks in the Fiordland region:firstly to take some pressure off the Milford and Routeburn Tracks; secondly, to provide a loop tramp, so you need neither retrace your steps nor come out at a different road end; and thirdly, to provide entirely land-based access.

On two or three counts Kepler Track succeeds brilliantly. There are no transport complications or expenses, and access is disarmingly simple - you can walk from Te Anau. But already the Kepler Track can get overcrowded. Booking of track has been introduced to reduce the overcrowding in the huts. Ironically it the Kepler Tracks very ease of access that has made it so popular so fast.

Scenery is varied from lush beech forest to the long drama of the tops track, as the Kepler Track twists along the ridge, turning from one view to another. Kepler Track has rich and varied birdlife, particularly down by the lakeside and the Iris Burn. The lakes themselves have a smooth serenity that is calming in this rugged landscape, yet only a little wind can change the mood abruptly, for the only thing predictable about Fiordland weather is its unpredictability.

 
Access

Kepler track can be walked from either end. From the Brod Bay, Lake Te Anau or Rainbow Reach. During the summer, track transport is available from Te Anau. For current information on access and bookings, consult Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre, Lakefront Drive, Te Anau, phone: (03) 249 8514 or (03) 249 7924 , greatwalksbooking@doc.govt.nz or fiordlandvc@doc.govt.nz or Web: www.doc.govt.nz

 
Track Transport
Kepler Track is well served by public and local transport. There is considerable competition on this route, so a variety of options are available tos suit your particular needs. For current information on track transport, consult Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre, Lakefront Drive, Te Anau, phone: (03) 249 8514 or (03) 249 7924 , greatwalksbooking@doc.govt.nz or fiordlandvc@doc.govt.nz or Web: www.doc.govt.nz
 
Local Services
Te Anau has everything - a range of accommodation from hostels to motor camps to hotels, various food stores, garages, equipment hire and, of course, the Department of Conservation Visitor Centre. Some hotels also offer a courtesy mini bus service to the track and other transport packages.
 
Huts and Camping

Kepler Track has three huts: Mt Luxmore hut , Iris Burn hut, Moturau hut with 40 bunks, gas cooking, wood stove, toilets and a warden on permanent duty throughout the season, which is November to April. Bookings for hut nights is required with DOC. Backcountry Hut Tickets apply out of season. On the tops route there are two alpine shelters that are just that - basic shelters, with no water, no mattresses, just an enclosed shell. Shallow Bay Hut is a much older 6 bunk hut.

Camping is not allowed on the Kepler Track except by the lakeside of Shallow Bay, Brod Bay and Dock Bay, and very good camping it is too, with silky reflection of the lake and full evening bird song. Toilets, fireplaces and seats are provided at Brod Bay and Dock Bay.

 
Weather and Season
Kepler Track lies within a mountain environment. It is possible to experience sunshine, torrential rain, high winds and snow all in one day, even in summer. Be prepared for sudden weather changes, usually for the worse, and take a waterproof raincat, woollen hat and gloves, and a complete change of clothes. The section of Kepler Track from Luxmore Hut to Iris Burn hut is high on mountain ridges and is very exposed to bad weather. It may be under snow from late May until the end of September, with corresponding avalanche risk. Listen to weather reports, take advice from DOC Visitor Centre and the hut wardens, and if in doubt - wait it out. Only highly experienced trampers, hikers and climbers should undertake the track outside this season.
 
Clothing and Equipment

Compared with other tracks in New Zealand , this walking track is constructed to a very high standard. Most streams are bridged, boardwalks cover boggy areas or very steep sections, and the walking gradient is easy. Strong footwear is recommended, and walkers should carry clothing for all weather conditions.

Walkers must take adequately warm clothing. In fine weather, shorts and a light shirt may be worn but long trousers, a warm shirt and woollen sweater essential for cold conditions. A waterproof parka is also essential. Boots must be worn and these must be properly broken in. A comfortable pack and warm sleeping bag are essential: there is no bedding in the huts.

All food and all utensils must be carried. Gas rings and fuel are provided in huts during the season. Each hut also has a stove for heating and drying. No fires are allowed outside approved fireplaces. Remember to remove all rubbish which you are unable to burn - pack out what you pack in - in the rubbish bags provided.

You should take a small first aid kit,torch, small compass, and of course, appropriate track guide

 
Fitness and Preparation

It is important to ensure that you are physically fit. If you are not preoccupied with blistered feet or sore muscles then not only will you cover the ground more quickly and safely, but you will have more time and opportunity to appreciate the scenery and natural features that you have made so much effort to reach! So - break in those boots, make sure your clothing and gear are comfortable and adequate, plan your food requirements, and undertake several training tramps or hikes of increasing length and difficulty. There's only one way to get fit for tramping - and that's tramping.

Before you leave home, inform relatives or friends of your intentations and dates of travel and put your names and plans in the log books along the way. This will make your location easier should you suffer any mishap. On the track, keep your party together at all times; reduces the chance of a member getting lost or having an accident. Remember - the pace of your party is that of its slowest member.

 
Approach to Walking

Don't rush and don't loiter. Keep up a good, steady pace and don't indulge in too many rest stops - it's surprising how the time gets away from you. And rests should not be too long, otherwise you may stiffen up and lose your rhythm. Don't hang around if its wet and cold - keep body heat up. Start out early each day, so that you're always time in hand.

Keep your party together at all times; this reduces the chance of a member getting lost or having an accident. Remember the golden rule - the pace of the party is that of its slowest member.
 
Warning

Although Kepler Track is a well-graded, well marked, well hutted and well used track, it must not be undertaken lightly. People have died on the Kepler Track from underestimating weather conditions. Your group must be fit and well prepared. Make a conservative estimate of your capabilities and needs, plan well, and by the time you reach the Kepler Track you'll have no worries.

The stretch of track between Luxmore Hut and Iris Burn Hut is open and exposed. Bad weather will easily delay you and it is sensible to have a day in hand - especially if you want to enjoy the view. Kepler Track varies between an easy country walk and a standard tramping or hiking trail. Although always well graded, it can be stony and rough underfoot.

 
<More>> Kepler Track Photos & DOC Kepler Track Brochure
 
Distances Tracks / Times

The total average travelling time for the track is 19.5 hours, so that a very fit, skilled tramper, with a light pack might accomplish in one summer's day. The 'record' is 5.5 hours!

But observation of one's surroundings is reduced in direct proportion to the speed of travel and, one might add, the weight of one's load. Most Kepler Track walkers will want to take their time - for comfort's sake and to take in to the full attraction of the natural environment.

Location
Distance
Times
Te Anau Outlet to Mt Luxmore Hut
14 km
6 hours
Control Gates to Brod Bay
5.6 km
1 - 1.5 hours
Brod Bay to Luxmore Hut
8.5 km
2 - 2.5 hours
Luxmore Hut to Iris Burn Hut
18.6 km
6 hours
Iris Burn Hut to Moturau Hut
17.2 km
5 - 6 hours
Moturau Hut to Rainbow Reach Carpark
17.1 km
5 hours
Related
 

Further Information

Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre, Lakefront Drive, Te Anau
Phone: (03) 249 8514 or (03) 249 7924
Email: greatwalksbooking@doc.govt.nz or fiordlandvc@doc.govt.nz
Web: www.doc.govt.nz
 

 

 

 
All Right Reserved. Copyright © BackCountry New Zealand, 2004 - 2016.