TE ANAU TO LUXMORE HUT (15.8KM/ 9.8MILES)
Begin the walk at Te Anau township on the lake path outside the visitor centre. Continue on the shores of the lake past the carpark and through forests of mountain and red beech trees before reaching pretty Brod Bay. Cool off with a refreshing swim or stop here for morning tea - the views are beautiful. From here the track climbs steadily for 2 hours up to limestone bluffs before breaking out of the bush line.
Here, the panoramic views of the Te Anau Basin, Takitimu Mountains, and the Snowdon and Earl Mountains are spectacular. This is also where there's a good chance you'll encounter kea - New Zealand's large, extremely intelligent alpine parrots. Luxmore Hut is only a 45-minute walk from here. After arriving at the hut, take a short walk to Luxmore Cave, one of many in the area. Bring a torch to admire the stalactites and stalagmites.
LUXMORE HUT TO IRIS BURN HUT (14.6km/ 9miles)
Today's portion of the walk includes hikes along exposed ridges with huge views of the valley below. Begin with a climb up to a ridge just below the summit of Mount Luxmore (1,472 metres/4,829 feet) - if you're feeling energetic, the summit can be reached in 10 minutes. The track then winds down to the Forest Burn Saddle before zig zagging across a ridge system to Hanging Valley Shelter. Small tarns (lakes) can be seen between the ridges. From here, you'll descend through a beautiful forest that leads to a large tussock clearing and the Iris Burn Hut.
IRIS BURN HUT TO MOTURAU HUT (16.2KM/ 10MILES)
A steady hike awaits today, with the track winding it's way through beech forest, a gorge and a low saddle. Bellbirds, tomtits, grey warblers, fantails and chaffinches are common throughout the forest. Walk along river flats and a lowland podocarp forest before emerging on the shores of Lake Manapouri. Moturau Hut is situated next to a beautiful beach with stunning views of the lake. While you’re bedded down for the night, listen for the hooting of ruru (our native owl) and the brown kiwi's shrill whistles.
MOTURAU HUT TO RAINBOW REACH (6KM/ 3.7MILES)
The final day of the Kepler track is a moderate stroll to reach the end. The track follows the terraces of the Waiau River Terrace to the swingbridge at Rainbow Reach. Look for yellow-crowned parakeets along the river. Walkers are able to catch a shuttle bus or arrange transport to pick them up and take them back to Te Anau from here.