Vast tussock-covered ridgelines and spectacular alpine vistas contrast with peaceful lakeside and valley beech forest in this wilderness adventure. Highlights of the Kepler Track, one of New Zealand's Great Walks, include: exploring the fascinating Luxmore Caves, taking in alpine tussock grasslands and amazing views of Lake Te Anau, and walking to Iris Burn Falls.
Most walkers tramp the 60km loop in 4 days and 3 nights, but sections of the track can also be done as day walks. The track starts and finishes at the Kepler Track carpark near Te Anau. Great Walk tracks are of a higher standard than most other tracks so are well formed, wide, and easy to follow. Most rivers and waterways on these tracks have sturdy bridges, although occasionally there are also small streams to cross.
Each night is spent in one of the three huts or two campsites on the Kepler Track, which must be booked in advance during the Great Walks season (24 October 2017 - 30 April 2018). Camping or staying overnight in the shelters at Forest Burn and Hanging Valley is not permitted.
During the Great Walks season the hut facilities include: plenty of bunks with mattresses in a communal sleeping layout, a fresh water supply, flushing toilets, wash basins with cold running water (but no showers), solar lighting, heating, cooking facilities with tables and seating (but no cooking utensils), and a resident DOC ranger who can tell you about the environment and weather, or help out should an emergency arise.
Outside the Great Walks season the hut facilities are reduced; gas is not provided, flush toilets are replaced with pit toilets, the water supply is limited and running water is turned off, there no rangers or emergency radio facilities, and beds are on a first come first served basis, as no bookings are required. On the Kepler Track there is also an avalanche risk. Walking the track during this time should only be attempted by fit, experienced and well-equipped people.
At each of the scenic campsites on the track you'll find: an open cooking shelter, water on tap, a clean toilet, and a friendly hut warden (during the Great Walks season) who may visit to chat and check campsite tickets.
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