4
days

Kepler Track Freedom Walk

Considered a New Zealand Great Walk 4 day loop track is an excellent option for your family and friends, especially if you love the outdoors.

Highlights include the beech-forested shores of lakes Te Anau, the tussock carpeted alpine tops and grandeur of Mt Luxmore and panoramic views of rivers, lakes and hanging valleys on one side and the
the Kepler Mountain range on the other.

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Itinerary

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1
Te Anau

Pre accommodation, night in a B&B 

2
Control Gates - Luxmore Hut

Bus from Te Anau to Control gates:
Today you travel along the South Island's mountain tops for 7 Miles (12km), towards the Kepler Track. This is a circular tramping track and alpine adventure with exceptional panoramas.  Your 3-4 day, 37 miles (60km) hike across spectacular scenery in Fiordland National Park is easily accessible on foot from Te Anau.

The Kepler Track starts from the shores of beautiful Lake Te Anau taking you high above the clouds at Luxmore Hut at 3559ft (1085m), where you will be staying the night. Traverse the top of the Kepler Mountains, hike down to the stunning Lake Manapouri, before turning back into beech forest, walking right to your own front door.

The day before your transfer to the starting point of the Track, you have to go to Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre, Lakefront Drive, at the entrance of Te Anau on your left, along the lake, to exchange your vouchers for the huts.
Bus from Te Anau to Control gates. Pick up at your accommodation in Te Anau.

The track hugs the lakeshore and heads through the mountains and red beech forest, with kamahi and some scattered rimu and miro. You’ll go by a grove of hard tree ferns as well as crown ferns before you reach Dock Bay. Continue across Coal Creek Bridge following the lakeshore of Te Anau to Brod Bay, where you can take time out for a relaxing swim before carrying on. The trail begins again about midway along the beach, towards the bushline and traverses steadily for two hours to limestone bluffs; an ideal lunch stop.  After an extra hour's climb you’ll reach the bushline, providing panoramic views and a great camera stop towards the Te Anau Basin, Takitimu Mountains, and the Snowdon and Earl Mountains. The last 45 minutes of your track today will end at The Luxmore Hut from the bushline. If the weather is in poor conditions look for the orange-topped snow poles which are on this track.

Walking Distance: 14km - 5 to 6 hours
Huts in Kepler Track: Night in hut on a sleeping bag dormitory basis.

3
Luxmore Hut - Iris Burn Hut

Departing Luxmore Hut this morning, the trail traverses gradually to a ridge just below Mount Luxmore 4829ft (1472 metres). As you look out to the views surrounding you, the track finally descends to a shelter close to the Forest Burn Saddle.  Beware of wind gusts when crossing the saddle.  The track idles, climbs and then follows a ridge system for about two hours to the Hanging Valley Shelter.  As you move on, the trail follows a long, open ridge onwards to the Iris Burn and then descends via a series of zigzags into a Hanging Valley.  The track descends further into the forest, and finally reaches The Iris Burn Hut 1630ft (497 metres) situated in a large tussock clearing.  For a pleasant evening stroll head up the valley for 20 minutes to Iris Burn Waterfall.

Walking Distance: 15km - 5 to 6 walking hours
Huts in Kepler Track: Night in hut on a sleeping bag dormitory basis.

4
Iris Burn Hut - Rainbow Reach - Te Anau

Plan an early departure to catch the 3.00pm bus otherwise go for the 5.00pm one. The trail today is a steady day's tramp down into beech forest, through riverside clearings and a gorge. The track wanders through mixed forests to the large slip formed during heavy rain in January 1984.  About 2.5 hours from the Iris Burn Hut the track reaches Rocky Point, a work camp for track maintenance and a good place for a lunch stop.

Below Rocky Point the trail winds through a gorge and comes out on a river flat near the mouth of the Iris Burn.  Nearing Lake Manapouri the track leads left into lowland beech and podocarp forest. As you hug the lakeshore around Shallow Bay you will eventually arrive at the Moturau Hut, situated beside a beautiful beach with panoramic views of Lake Manapouri. The final part of your track is an easy stroll through beech forest to Rainbow Reach. You’ll then cross a wetland and meander through Forest Burn just above its outlet into Balloon Loop, an old part of the Upper Waiau River. Follow the Waiau River terrace to the swing bridge at Rainbow Reach.

Walking Distance: 22km - 6.5 to 8 walking hours
Blue Ridge B&B, standard room: Night at Blue Ridge B& B.
Bus from Rainbow Reach to Te Anau: Drop off at your Accommodation in Te Anau.