"KEPLER TRACK, FIORDLAND" Kepler Mountains by kiwi

Kepler Mountains Travel Guide: 5 reviews and 47 photos

We walked the Kepler Track, April 2005.

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.

Some facts about the Kepler Track.

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.

You can view my series of photographs taken on the Kepler on my travelogues here.

VTers Kiwitrekker...

VTers kiwitrekker, Jeff and Sally, on the summit of Mt Luxmore, 1472m. Apparently there are stunning views on a clear day, hahahahha.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:On top of the clouds overlooking paradise.
  • Cons:Rain, cold and steep hills....
  • In a nutshell:Stunning, exhilirating, beautiful and amazing!!!
  • Last visit to Kepler Mountains: Apr 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (5)

Comments (52)

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Sep 11, 2016 at 10:38 PM

    Hi, Pam! What am impressive track! Congratulations on your accomplishment...The views are superb indeed..

    • kiwi's Profile Photo
      Sep 11, 2016 at 10:50 PM

      Thanks so much Victor, it was indeed an amazing place. I thoroughly recommend that trek :-)

  • Apr 23, 2014 at 10:51 PM

    i have heard good things about kepler, your photos prove its true. really really really dying to get to NZ one day. no excuse really, as im only in aus!

    • kiwi's Profile Photo
      Apr 24, 2014 at 12:19 AM

      Nice to hear from you, yes we aren't too far away. Perth bit longer tho. Anyway we'd welcome you with open hiking boots LOL. Be sure to come in summer, winter can be a bit of a shock ! :-)

  • twilightmuse's Profile Photo
    Jun 27, 2010 at 8:33 AM

    wow- stunning page!

  • travelinxs's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2009 at 3:09 AM

    Im just a few hundred feet from the Taj Mahel, but looking at this photo reminds me of what beauty really is. If I ever make it, before we all die of old age, Ill drop in for a cup of tea! Thanks.

  • robertgaz's Profile Photo
    Dec 21, 2008 at 3:38 PM

    What a cracking corner of Kiwiland!

  • neilward's Profile Photo
    Aug 25, 2008 at 5:16 AM

    WOW Fantasic photos,i`m worn out just looking at them !!! Woderful experience I bet,nice one Pam

  • canuck68's Profile Photo
    Apr 28, 2008 at 6:04 PM

    Wonderful pictures Pam. You did two things I would never do......hike and go down into a cave. In my book there is no such thing as a "gentle climb." Great stuff.

  • icunme's Profile Photo
    Feb 1, 2008 at 4:27 PM

    Outstanding view of the lake - you,

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Jan 18, 2008 at 12:32 PM

    excellent page and information thanks Pam, hadnt heard of this walk as an alternative to the Milford which Id love to do so when Im finally home....!and im off to Italy tmrw!couldnt say no after prices dropped 100!

  • betako3's Profile Photo
    Jan 4, 2008 at 10:56 AM

    Wow, simply wow! Must have been a fantastic experience to spend 4 days with all that beauty around you! And I admire your stamina :)


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