Self-Guided Walking Tours & Biking Tours


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Views on the way up to Luxmore Hut
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Highlights

  • 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.

Day 1: Arrive Te Anau and overnight

Arrive in the serene and charming town of Te Anau, This small town is the gateway to Fiordland National Park and situated in the south-western part of the South Island. Ringed by snow-capped peaks it stretches along New Zealand’s deepest and grandest lake of the same name.


You can arrive in Te Anau by rental car (which we can arrange for you). The journey takes about 2H from Queenstown Airport. Alternatively you can take a direct bus from Queenstown Airport on an Intercity bus. (2H15).


Today your food and gear will be dropped off at your accommodation ready to begin the walking tomorrow.


Overnight: Te Anau


Day 2: Water Taxi to Brod Bay.  Walk to Luxmore Hut

Take a water taxi to Brod Bay, where there is a beautiful sandy beach. A challenging steadily ascending climb takes you above the treeline, away from the lake and under limestone cliffs to an area with marvellous views of the Te Anau basin, including Lake Te Anau, Lake Manapouri, and the Takitimu, Snowdon and Earl Mountains.


At a commanding elevation of 1085m reach Luxmore Hut, which has its namesake peak behind it. This hut has great views from its  common room and deck. You can also see the nearby caves, there are about 30 of them and with a torch you can view stalactites and stalagmites.


Tonight, if you listen carefully you may be able to hear the morepork, a tiny native owl, or shrill whistles from the brown kiwi.


Walk: 8 km


Elevation Gain: +750m


Overnight:  Luxmore Hut


Day 3: Walk to Iris Burns Hut

Consider getting up early today to catch the sunrise just over the slight rise behind the hut. The sun touches the peaks of the Murchison Mountains and the often cloud-filled fiord far below. Today is a walking day full of highlights as you will constantly be walking above the treeline and crossing a series of exposed  crests. If you wish, drop your pack at the signposted junction to Mt Luxmore and climb up the remaining distance to the very top for 360 degree views of Fiordland. This return trip is well worth it as it only takes about 20 minutes round trip. Traverse the Luxmore Saddle, passing through fields of herbs and mountain daisies and then rise and fall along the ridge crest with yet more panoramic Fiordland vistas.  Today perhaps you will spot a New Zealand falcon or karearea, a spectacular looking bird.


The track then turns south and follows a narrow ridge for 2km. A series of steps drop you safely down on the steepest sections and as you further descend this board-walked and laddered section begin to get your first views of the Iris Burn Valley. Finally emerge onto the valley floor where you will see the Iris Burn Hut located in a small clearing. Once settled in consider  taking a short side trip up the spectacular Iris Burn Waterfall where you may take a refreshing dip.


Walk: 14.6 km


Elevation Gain/Loss: +300m/-800m


Overnight: Iris Burn Hut


Day 4: Walk to Rainbow Reach and onward Travel

On this final section of the Kepler Track you meander through lush forest and immerge on the banks of Lake Manapouri. Walk past the Big Slip, a massive 1984 landslide and via Rocky Point where the some of the boulders are bright orange as a result of red algae.


Pass the Morurau Hut on the shores of Lake Manapouri, the second deepest lake in New Zealand with an array of 33 small islands with the majestic Cathedral Mountains as a back drop, which you can see reflected in the water on a still day. Now tramp though a delightful forest and come upon an area of wetland, known as the Sphagnum Moss Bog. A series of boardwalks takes you over the wettest parts and then you cross Forest Burn on a swing bridge before emerging at your final destination, Rainbow Reach.


Either your car will be waiting for you here if you have chosen the car relocation option., or a transfer to Te Anau will be provided.  If you wish, stay an extra night in Te Anau or continue on your New Zealand epic adventure.


Walk: 22 km


Elevation Loss: -300m

Accommodation

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.



 

 




Blue Ridge B&B - Te Anau

This B&B has 3 studio rooms, all of which are very spacious. Your unobtrusive, but willing hosts are only too happy to help you to maximise your stay in beautiful Fiordland.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Luxmore Hut - Kepler Track



Luxmore Hut - Kepler Track

This DOC hut has 54 bunks with mattresses in a communal sleeping layout. This hut has fantastic view from the deck.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Iris Burn Hut - Kepler Track



Iris Burn Hut - Kepler Track

This 50-bunk DOC hut has a communal sleeping layout and provides flushing toilets, wash basins with cold running water (but no showers). Also log fire heating, solar lighting in the communal kitchen area, cooking facilities with fuel, tables and seating.


 

 

 

Availability

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.


Time of Year

The best time of year to walk the Kepler Track is in the Great Walks season, which is from October to April in New Zealand's spring, summer and autumn months. The weather will be more settled during these times of year, although it can be unpredictable at any time of year. Also when staying at the DOC Huts there will be a warden here during this time and also more facilities available.


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).


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, Route Notes & Maps

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 it's 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.


Baggage Transfers

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.


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.


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.

Getting to and from Te Anau

By Air: 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.


On return you can do the same things in reverse.


* 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.


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 and a transfer from Rainbow Reach to Te Anau or car drop off service if you are renting a car
  • Gear and Food drop off in Te Anau
  • Information pack, Track information, Track Care Package
  • Quality equipment (i.e. sleeping bag and liner, rucksack, etc)
  • 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

Extras

  • Single room supplement(s)
  • Additional nights
  • Rental Car

How far in advance do I need to book?

As the Kepler Track is one of the most popular walks in New Zealand and there are limited places in the DOC huts in order 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.

How fit do I need to be?

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.

How do the baggage transfers work?

On this tour you will be carrying your own rucksack. You may either bring your own or we can provide a good quality lightweight borrowed Osprey rucksack and cover which may be used whilst on the trek. You can take just what you need for the walk, including your sleeping bag and liner (bring your own or borrowed) and your provided food. Since you will have to carry your own pack we cannot emphasise enough to pack light! For a fee we can arrange to have other luggage stored for you whilst you are trekking, or if you have a rental car you can leave your other luggage inside it.

What equipment do I need?

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.

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