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Kepler Track

4 Days & 3 Nights
  • Kepler Track, a New Zealand Great Walk, showcasing the very best of Fiordland
  • Rugged high country, grand alpine views, virgin beech forest
  • Iris Burn Falls, perfect for a refreshing dip
  • Encounter the cheeky Kea bird, the world’s only native alpine parrot
  • Stay in Luxmore Hut with phenomenal vistas over Lake Te Anau

This easily accessible Great Walk of New Zealand, the Kepler Track, is a perfect wilderness adventure which was designed to show the very best of quintessential Fiordland; rugged alpine high country, immense limestone formations and majestic waterfalls.

There are constant views of the nearby mountains as you walk over tussock-covered ridgelines. As a contrast, follow trails through tall silent Beech forests and alongside Lake Manapouri, a haven of seclusion and beauty. Perhaps encounter the cheeky Kea bird or hear the tiny native owl, the morepork, by night and visit the Luxmore Caves where you can see stalagtites and stalamites.

Stay in DOC Huts on the trail and enjoy New Zealand’s walking culture and camaraderie.

What To Expect

The Kepler Track is a New Zealand Great Walk and easily accessible from Te Anau with constant alpine views. It is rated moderate as it only involves 3 days of walking, but be prepared for some elevation gains and losses as you negotiate these incredible landscapes. The DOC Huts are basic, but you will no doubt enjoy this walking adventure, locally known as “tramping”.

Trip Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active holiday.

Activity:

Inn to Inn Walking | A classic point to point walking trip, staying in a different location each night

This trip is suitable for:

Avid Adventurers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • National Parks & Trails
  • Alpine & Mountains

Grade & Terrain

Some sections of this walk are steep and rough, which is why it has been rated moderate. There is challenging walk on the first walking day when you will have to negotiate 750m of elevation gain. There is also an 800m elevation loss on the second walking day.

The surface is usually gravel, rock or dirt, and like any track can get muddy and slippery in wet weather. Poor weather conditions can make this walk more challenging than usual, even in the Great Walks season.

Most rivers and waterways on these tracks have sturdy bridges. Occasionally there are also small streams that cross the track but are usually easy enough to step across safely. Be aware that in wet weather rivers can rise very quickly and flood the tracks.

Navigation

The Kepler Track can be walked in both directions, however we have opted to begin with a water taxi to Brod Bay in order to begin your walk here. We recommend starting in Brod Bay as from here you will be climbing up to the ridge line and the Luxmore Hut which is a 750m elevation gain, so its worth having a shorter distance this day.

The track is well-marked and signposted so you should not have a problem finding your way. GPX tracks are also accessible on the Macs Smartphone App, so you can simply follow the route on your phone.

Accommodation Information

1 Night in a B&B, 2 Nights in DOC huts. This tour has varied accommodation, both basic, in the huts, contrasting with a comfortable B&B on the first night. You will need to be flexible so that you can enjoy both of these experiences.

Please note that the DOC huts are subject to availability.

A friendly conservation ranger is located at each hut. They know the area well and can tell you about the environment and weather, or help out should an emergency arise.

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This trip is not available to solo walkers as the areas that are walked through are very remote and there is no mobile phone service. Single rooms are available on request on the first and last night and a supplement is payable.

Meals

Breakfast will be provided by your accommodation in Te Anau. Whilst hiking on the Kepler Track, a delicious and easy to prepare food package is included just for you with local foods which are full of great taste and satisfaction, nutrition, and minimal waste. The food items chosen are lightweight, as you will be carrying this food yourself.

Your food package will be delivered to your accommodation in Te Anau the day before you start walking the track. Also included are cooking utensils, plates, a cooking pot, etc in order for you to prepare the food in the huts, where there are gas cookers (there is no catering service in the huts).

Included
  • 1 Night in a B&B, 2 Nights in DOC (Department of Conservation) Huts
  • Breakfast in Te Anau
  • Personalised food package
  • A transfer by water taxi to Brod Bay on Day 2
  • A transfer from Rainbow Reach to Te Anau on Day 4
  • Car drop off service if you are renting a car
  • Gear and Food drop off in Te Anau
  • Quality equipment (i.e. sleeping bag and liner, rucksack, etc)
  • Information pack, Track information, Track Care Package
  • Access to the Macs Smartphone App with GPS Tracks
  • 24-7 Emergency telephone support
Excluded
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to and from Te Anau
  • Dinner on Day 1
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal necessities
  • ETA & IVL requests (mandatory as per 1 Oct 2019)
Extras
  • Rental Car

When To Go

The Kepler Track is very popular and there are limited places in the DOC huts. Therefore, you will have to book quite far in advance in order to be successful for the dates you require, especially if you wish to travel in the height of the season which is Jan/Feb. The Great Walks season runs from October to April. To avoid disappointment please plan your trip well in advance. (At least 6-12 months). You must be certain about your preferred dates when you book as no changes can be made later. 

Please be aware that we will not be able to fully confirm your trip until the New Zealand Department of Conservation opens up the bookings for the DOC Huts, which generally happens in June every year for the following season.  Our local partners will make sure to book your space as soon as they are able.

This walk is not available outside of the Great Walks season to our customers for a variety of reasons, but mainly because outside of these dates the huts are not bookable (they are first-come first-served), do not have DOC rangers present and facilities are also greatly reduced.

Why not try one of our alternate walks of New Zealand as well, such as the Routeburn, Abel Tasman, Queen Charlotte or Kaikoura Coastal Track.

Getting to the Start

In order to get to Te Anau you can fly into and out of Queenstown Airport. Some international airlines fly into Queenstown, including Qantas and Air New Zealand. However you can also take a domestic flight from any of the larger airports such as Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. From Queenstown you can either pick up a rental car and drive to Te Anau (2H) or you can take a bus. You can take a bus direct from the airport (2H15) but they only leave twice day. Check the timetable on the Intercity website.

* Please be aware that when booking flights from the UK to New Zealand you will arrive 2 days after you set off and on return you will arrive 1 day after you set off. So, for example, if you leave on a Tuesday you will arrive on a Thursday and on return if you leave on a Saturday you will arrive home on the Sunday. This is obviously because of the time it takes to get there but also because you are travelling back and forth across the International Date Line.  Similar principles apply when travelling from other places in Europe and from the USA and Canada. Please make sure that when you book you take this into consideration so that you are arriving on the correct day that the tour begins.

Baggage Transfer

On this tour you will have to carry your own gear for the walk on the track, including your sleeping bag and liner, included food and cooking utensils.  Given that most customers are likely to be taking part in this walk as part of other travels in New Zealand, we provide everyone with a good quality lightweight Osprey rucksack and cover for the walk as part of the package. You can choose to bring your own rucksack should you wish, but if you do so, it must be of a minimum 50 litres capacity. Since you will have to carry your own pack we cannot emphasise enough how important it is to pack light! Please note that we can arrange to have your remaining luggage stored for you during the trip for a small fee should this be required, or if you are renting a car you can keep your luggage inside it while you are walking.

General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack. On this tour we can provide you with the essential equipment for this tour locally.

Equipment

We can provide you with the following good-quality equipment locally if you do not wish to bring your own.

Adjustable Osprey pack and pack cover, Sea to Summit sleeping bag and liner, rain jacket and pants, cooking/eating utensils, first aid kit, inflatable pillow, hot drink thermos.

These items can be lent to you for your convenience and therefore you will not need to take these things to New Zealand with you. Please see your information pack which has more details on what to take with you on the track.

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Te Anau & Overnight Day 2 Water Taxi to Brod Bay, walk to Luxmore Hut 5 miles / 8 km Day 3 Walk to Iris Burns Hut 9 miles / 14.6 km Day 4 Walk to Rainbow Reach and onward Travel 14 miles / 22 km

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