"KEPLER TRACK, FIORDLAND" Kepler Mountains by kiwi
Kepler Mountains Travel Guide: 5 reviews and 47 photos
This is a photo taken around dawn from the veranda of the first mountain hut we stayed in. We really were in paradise, and it all made the hard uphill hike of the day before worthwhile.
The Kepler Track was fully developed and opened in 1988 as an alternative to the ever-popular Milford Track. Naturally, for the preservation of these wonderland areas, numbers visiting must be restricted, as is the case with the Milford.
Maoris first came to this area well before Europeans, but it was the Europeans who cut the first trail up Mt Luxmore so their animals could graze the top plateaus in summer months.
The Milford Track was 'bursting at the seams' with seasons fully booked and many people missing out on seeing our amazing mountains. Often when the Milford Track is fully booked, there are still spaces available on the Kepler. With the help of Operation Raleigh (now Raleigh International, www.raleigh.org.uk) the full 60km circuit track was built to accommodate more visitors. One benefit of this is that the track itself is very smooth, and easy to walk. With a heavy pack, even small steps are hard work on the knees to lift the body and pack weight. But when the track is smooth, you just need to shuffle your feet up in small increments and it just doesn't seem to be so hard. Of course most fit people don't worry about this, LOL.
You can begin the Track from several points. Te Anau town, or the Lake Te Anau control gates, or from the other end from Rainbow Reach on the Waiau River or again from the Control Gates. Personally I wouldn't recommend going Iris Burn to Luxmore Hut direction as this puts you climbing up on the alpine section. I think negotiating the steep steps downhill was so much easier. Again, fit and agile athletes don't need to worry about this.
Frighteningly, the record one of these superhuman people has done the 60km trek is 4:41:32hours!! We took 3.5days, but then we weren't racing, haha.
Day 1 13.3kms Control Gates to Luxmore Hut, climbing 800metres.
Day 2 14.5kms Luxmore Hut to Iris Burn Hut, climb 400m, descend 200m, climb 180m and further descent of 800m.
Day 3 16.3kms Iris Burn Hut to Moturoa Hut, descending 300m.
Day 4 15.6kms Moturoa Hut to Control Gates.
VTers kiwitrekker, Jeff and Sally, on the summit of Mt Luxmore, 1472m. Apparently there are stunning views on a clear day, hahahahha.
- Pros:On top of the clouds overlooking paradise.
- Cons:Rain, cold and steep hills....
- In a nutshell:Stunning, exhilirating, beautiful and amazing!!!
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