Stage 5: Kepler Track

Our main reason for going to Te Anau was to do a hike part of the Kepler Track as a day-hike. Traveling by bike makes the logistics of multi-day hikes too complicated. We’d have to carry more gear, including backpacks, and our panniers just didn’t allow for that. So we opted to do only a few day-hikes on our travels.

keplar-track-boatThe Kepler Track is one of New Zealand’s Great Walks: designated as one of the nine outstanding hiking trails in the country. The trail is maintained by DOC (the department of conservation), which also maintains the huts on the trail, which have dorms with bunk beds, and kitchens with gas cookers. To reach the start of the Kepler Track you can walk a few hours from town around the bottom of the lake, or take the convenient water taxi. We took the water taxi.

Here a hiker is unloading at the start of the track. She looks like a SWAT team member, but those are walking sticks, not weapons.

kevlar-track-fernsSome vegetation on the lower part of the forest reminded us of home rain forest. However, the many fern-palms give the forest its subtropical look.

keplar-track-te-anau-lakeLooking back to the lake and the town of Te Anau as we make our way up the trail. The hike was about 22km roundtrip and a 1200m ascent.

keplar-track-rockwallThe surroundings varied, from forested at the beginning of the track to impressive rock faces.

kevlar-track-tussockWe’re out of the forest and above the tree line. Endless stretches of Tussock grass that waved in the wind. This is looking east towards the lake.
kevlar-track-luxmore-hutThe Luxmore hut, the first hut along the trail. Time for a break and some lunch.
keplar-track-summitNear the summit of the trail. Ridges extending forever into Fiordland. A patch of snow.
keplar-track-lake-te-anauLake Te Anau and the Murchison Mountains from the saddle near the summit on the Kepler Trail. Wonderful light reflections on the water.

kevlar-track-ingeInge taking a break near the summit while Roy takes pictures.

keplar-track-ridge-trailTrail to the saddle near the summit.