Near the shores of Lake Te Anau and Manapouri the Kepler Track is located on the eastern side of Fiordland National Park
Distance: 60 km / Walk Duration: 4 days
High alpine ridges, primordial forest, rugged gorges and wild flowing water await walkers on the 60km circular Kepler Track. Starting along the shores of Lake Te Anau, the Kepler walk is a nature enthusiast’s dream which involves some hard yards but stunning scenery. Starting and finishing at the control gates of lake TeAnau, this four day walk will leave you with memories of a unique wilderness area.
- Package includes 6 days and 5 nights
- Pre and Post Accommodation in a 3 star motel or equivalent in Te Anau (twin share)
- Transportation ex Te Anau to and from the walk
- 4 Day Walk with 3 nights in Department of Conservation Huts
From NZ$ 459 per person
Numbers are limited – Book early to secure your space.
2020/2021 Season is open
Please note the walk is fully booked over the following dates:
- 27 Oct 2020 – 14 Feb 2021
- 31 Mar – 04 Apr 2021
Kepler Track car park to Luxmore Hut
13.8 km / 5 – 6 hours
The mossy beech forests on the shore of Lake Te Anau Follow the water’s edge to Brod Bay. A constant climb brings you above the bushline into an exposed alpine landscape past limestone bluffs giving 360 degree views of the mountains and valleys around you. The Luxmore Hut is a further 45 minutes across tussock covered hillsides. The Luxmore Cave is an interesting diversion only ten minutes from the hut. You are advised to bring torches and leave a note of your intended return and details of your party in the hut.
Luxmore Hut to Iris Burn Hut
14.6 km / 5 – 6 hours
Your day is spent mainly in the wild alpine environment above the South Arm of lake Te Anau giving you views of Fiordland National Park and the Murchison mountains. You will climb to a ridge just below Mt Luxmore itself and head past the shelters of Forest Burn and Hanging Valley before your descent to the grassy clearing by the Iris Burn River and its hut. A further 20 minute walk after unloading your pack at the hut will bring you to the iris Burn Waterfall. As night falls listen for kiwi calling.
Iris Burn Hut to Moturau Hut
16.2 km / 5 – 6 hours
The damp scent of mossy beech forest greets you the next morning as you head toward Rocky Point. You then enter a gorge and indulge yourself to more beech and podocarp as you reach Lake Manapouri. Mouturau Hut on the lake shore and the opportunity of a swim to wash away the day’s exertions will ensure a restful night’s sleep.
Moturau Hut to Kepler Track car park
15.5 km / 4 – 5 hours
With the mountains behind you enjoy a leisurely meander through more beech forest and wetlands on your way to the Waiau River terraces and across the Rainbow Reach swing bridge. The home stretch along the Waiau River brings you full circle to the Kepler Track car park.
What should I bring?
To enjoy freedom walking a spare set of the clothes and underwear you are most comfortable wearing will ensure the hours on the track are a pleasure not a chore. Drying garments in the hut is often not possible for safety reasons so polypropylene and light wool with its fast drying qualities and ability to keep you warm even when it is wet is the most recommended material. Cotton clothing such as jeans, T-shirts and sweatshirts can be a serious liability when wet and have been responsible for a number of hypothermic incidents for hikers caught out in the cold.
Temperatures can vary during the day, with rain, sun and snow possible all on the same day at any time of the year. To ensure your clothing and sleeping bag stays dry we recommend you line your pack with a strong plastic bag before packing your gear into it.
Suggested clothing for the walks
- Warm hat and gloves
- Good quality walking / tramping boots
- 2 – 3 sets of fast drying clothing. One set to walk in and one set to change into at night. Layers of clothing are recommended to manage changing temperatures. It is not possible to dry clothing at the huts.
- Light weight shoes for around the hut
- Good quality warm wind and rain proof jacket (gortex or similar)
- Sunhat, sunglasses and sunscreen
- Swimming costume and towel (optional). Check safe swimming locations at huts.
- Earplugs (optional), but you will be sharing the huts other people
- Pack with large waterproof / pack liner
- Sleeping bag and sleeping bag liner
- Torch and spare batteries — There is no lighting at the huts either in the living area or bunk rooms or between huts and ablution blocks.
- Plastic bags for wet gear
- Rubbish bag — You must remove all your rubbish from the track
- Toilet gear: toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, small towel, soap
- Water bottle — There is limited access to water on some places on the track
- Camera (optional)
- First aid kit — Insect repellent, plasters for blisters, personal medication (e.g. antihistamine for allergy to wasp stings)
- Cooking utensils — Pot/pan/billy, matches or lighter
- Eating utensils — Knife, fork, spoon, plate, cup
- Small gas cooker if you want hot drinks etc. during the day
- Pot scrubber, tea towel
Food must be carried as it cannot be bought on the way, although some bartering may be possible especially if you have extra chocolate, gourmet cheeses or wine.
Breakfast cereals, crackers, cheese and jam for lunch and instant soup/dried pasta or dehydrated meals for dinner, snacks such as biscuits, muesli bars and tea and coffee will ensure you keep up energy levels without losing your appetite. Supermarkets in Te Anau will be able to supply all your food requirements. There are also speciality outdoor stores which have a range of dehydrated meals and other food products specifically designed for multi-day walking.
Facilities at your accommodation
- While not five star, the huts you stay in have all the essentials you need for shelter and cooking with sinks, gas cookers, cold water, tables, seating benches and wood burners for heating and as well as solar lighting
- Communal bunkrooms have no pillows or linen and are built with a combination of platform and/or individual bunks with mattresses
- Ablution blocks have flush or vaulted toilets and washbasins with cold water only. Those wishing for showers or baths can enjoy the number of waterfalls or swimming holes on the track
- A Department of Conservation ranger is present at each hut
Explore More Today
The incredible wilderness of the Kepler Track will ensure memories for years to come and its well maintained path makes it accessible for relative novices and family groups. Be aware however, Fiordland National Park can have variable weather with high rainfall with cold temperatures, snow and wind. It is not recommended for children younger than 10 years.
Walkers are responsible for your own and party members safety. The Department of Conservation have a new online Intentions System which replaces the intentions books at each hut. It is crucial for walkers to advise others of their intentions regarding dates and routes taken before they embark on the Kepler Track. Emergency locator beacons are also readily available for rent from Department of Conservation offices.
Take a moment to watch the short video and explore the maps and get a feel for how special this area of New Zealand truly is.
Great Walks Tracks are well marked and easy to follow but you will need a reasonable standard of fitness to carry your pack over the climbs and descents of the beautiful rugged landscapes to each night’s accommodation. The walking times listed above are approximate times for an average walker taking short breaks each hour.