Kepler Track

New Zealand

The Kepler Track is a 60 km, 3-4 day loop track taking you from the gentle, beech-forested shores of lakes Te Anau and Manapouri to the tussocky alpine tops and grand Mt Luxmore. Your reward for the hill climb is a long section above bushline with marvellous panoramic views of the Kepler Mountains on one side, and lakes, rivers and hanging valleys on the other.

The Kepler Track is an excellent track for you and your family and friends, especially if you love the outdoors, want an adventure with a bit of a physical challenge that is not too hard to get to and has excellent facilities.

This is a Great Walk and offers a high standard of track and very comfortable, serviced huts as well as camping opportunities. During the winter months (May to October) the Kepler Track remains open, but with reduced facilities.

Getting there

The Kepler Track is circular track that begins and ends at the Kepler Track car park, which is at the southern end of Lake Te Anau, about 5 km from Te Anau township.

Access is either by road or a 50 min walk from the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre. Alternatively, there is an entry point at Rainbow Reach, a 10 min (12km) drive from Te Anau.

Shuttle buses provide a daily service to entry and exit points on the track during the Great Walks season (late October to late April). A scheduled boat service also offers transport to Brod Bay.

Maps

The map and profile are available HERE.

Route/Trail notes

Te Anau to Kepler Track carpark

45 min, 2 km

Start your journey on the lake side path outside the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre. Passing the Te Anau Wildlife Park, continue around the shores of Lake Te Anau to the Kepler Track carpark near the Lake Te Anau control gates, where there are toilet and picnic facilities.

Kepler Track carpark to Brod Bay

1 hr 30 min, 5.6 km

The track follows the lake shore through forest of mountain and red beech, with kamahi and some scattered rimu and miro. After passing an attractive grove of hard tree ferns and crown fern, Dock Bay is reached. Continue across the Coal Creek Bridge and follow the lake shore to Brod Bay. Brod Bay is a delightful place to swim and camp if you have had a late start. There is a shelter here, with tank water, picnic tables and two toilets. See Kepler Track: Carpark to Brod Bay

Brod Bay to Luxmore Hut

3 hr 30 min - 4 hr 30 min, 8.2 km

Luxmore Hut.
Luxmore Hut

From Brod Bay the track climbs steadily for about two hours to limestone bluffs – an ideal lunch stop. After another hour’s climb the bush line is reached, providing panoramic views of the Te Anau Basin, Takitimu Mountains, and the Snowdon and Earl Mountains. Luxmore Hut (1085 metres) is about a 45 minute walk from the bush line. This part of the track is marked by orange-topped snow poles, which are helpful in poor weather conditions.

Side trip - Luxmore Cave

The cave is a 10 minute walk from the hut and is clearly signposted. Please indicate your intentions in the visitors' book provided in the hut when visiting the cave. Each person should take a minimum of two light sources.

Luxmore Hut to Iris Burn Hut

5 - 6 hr, 14.6 km
In heavy rain, strong winds or wintery weather, wait at Luxmore Hut until the weather improves.

The track climbs gradually from the hut to a ridge just below the summit of Mount Luxmore. A 10 minute side trip to the summit (1472 metres) provides stunning panoramic views in fine weather. The track then descends to a shelter close to Forest Burn Saddle, where there is a small day shelter and toilet.

Beware of wind gusts when crossing the saddle.

The track sidles, climbs and follows a ridge system for about two hours to Hanging Valley Shelter. It then follows a long, open ridge toward the Iris Burn and descends through a series of zigzags into a hanging valley. The track winds its way through beautiful forest, with good views of a large natural landslide.

The Iris Burn Hut (497 metres) is sited in a large tussock clearing. From Iris Burn Hut, a 20 minute stroll leads to Iris Burn Waterfall. 

Iris Burn Hut to Moturau Hut

Kepler Track in winter.
Kepler Track in winter

5 - 6 hr, 16.2 km

Today is a steady day’s tramp through beech forest and a gorge, generally following the Iris Burn. The track climbs over a low saddle and wanders through mixed species forest to a large slip, formed during heavy rain in January 1984.

About 2½ hours from the Iris Burn Hut is a work camp for track maintenance. Rocky Point Shelter is located just around the corner and is a good place for a lunch stop.

Below Rocky Point the track sidles through a gorge, coming out on river flats near the mouth of the Iris Burn. Nearing Lake Manapouri, the track turns left through lowland beech and podocarp forest. It follows the lake shore to Moturau Hut, situated beside a beautiful beach, with panoramic views of Lake Manapouri.

Moturau Hut to Rainbow Reach

1 hr 30 min - 2 hr, 6 km

The last day is a moderate stroll through beech forest to Rainbow Reach. The track crosses a wetland and the meandering Forest Burn, just above its outlet into Balloon Loop, an old part of the Upper Waiau River.

It then follows the Waiau River terrace to the swingbridge at Rainbow Reach. Walkers are able to catch a shuttle bus service to Te Anau from here.

Rainbow Reach to Kepler Track carpark

2 hr 30 min - 3 hr 30 min, 9.5 km

The track up river from Rainbow Reach is well worth walking for the variety of forest and river views. This section provides good opportunities for trout fishing and leads back to the Kepler Track carpark. See Rainbow Reach to Kepler Track carpark.

Kepler Track carpark to Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre

Return to Te Anau along the track from the Kepler Track carpark, through the Te Anau Wildlife Park, to the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre.

Permits/Costs

Summer season (29 October 2013 to 30 April 2014) - $54/night for a hut per person, $18 for a campsite per person.

Other References

Official page of the track is accesible HERE.

Comments

Incredible walk. Very challenging, outstanding views, huts were great. Want to go again! This was my first multi day hike and over estimated myself but made it. Pack light. We had perfect weather for the whole track which gave incredible views. Started at Te Anau and finished at Rainbow Reach due to blistered feet. Recommend walking from Te Anau as the walk around the lake was a lovely start and pretty scene early morning. We left our excess gear in locker at Backpacking accomodation. Day 1 is all uphill, day 2 uphill and then downhill (toughest day for me) day 3 was much easier. Pack the sunscreen for day 2 across the ridge.

Lee-anne on 21 Nov, 2017

Fantastic walk. Started at rainbow reach and short day to Brod bay for the, From brod bay to luxmore hut is steep but manageable. leaving luxmore hut we got 60-70 km/h winds and heavy snow couldn't see more than a few meters, VERY cold. didn't stop for 6 hours. the walk down to Iris burn seemed to take forever, but at least most of it was below the snow line. Last day was a long one. I will do it again so that I actually get to look down and see the south fjord.

B_T on 21 Jan, 2014

Very spectacular track. especially if the weather is good and you get the view from the ridge.
Did it in 4 days, Rainbow Reach to Rainbow Reach. Campsites are nice, but lots of bity midges - be sure to take an insect repellent. There is no campsite on the ridge, but Luxmore Hut is cosy and warm and worth staying in. Got caught by a blizzard on the ridge (mid-summer!), the entire ridge walked in 50cm deep snow and ~80km/h wind - make sure you have necessary warm layers, gloves, hat, good rain jacket and sunglasses.
Next time would probably book huts for all 3 nights, just because :) Make sure you make a booking 5-6 months in advance, the hike is popular (as all Fiordland tracks).

S_V on 21 Jan, 2014

Where

Click here to load this map.

Done this walk?

This walk has been ticked 11 times

Aussie Bushwalking can keep track of your bushwalks.

Login/signup to tick this walk off.

Tick walks to keep track of where you've been. You must Login to tick walks. Accounts are 100% free so sign up if you don't have one.