Kepler Track

The Keplar track is located just outside of Te Anau, near the border of Southland and Fiordland. The track begins in Southland and trails right into Fiordland, taking roughly four days to complete. There are three cabins located on the trail, one in the mountains, one in a secluded, forested valley and one on the Lake Manapouri waterfront. On this trail, hikers will experience a wide range of different scenery. This ranges from mountainous tundra to lush fern forests, to lakeside beaches, to mountainous hardwood forests. The track includes stunning views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. When staying in the huts, you will meet a variety of interesting people from around the world who have come to New Zealand to enjoy the country’s stunning scenery and challenging hikes. While in the huts, I encourage you to interact with the hut wardens and forest rangers as they normally have fantastic stories or very eccentric personalities. The warden we had in our first hut was a middle-aged man with an impressive beard, who wore green spandex tights and crocs and kept a taxidermied stoat in his pocket. Our ranger at the second hut had some fantastic stories regarding hikers she witnessed, including a Chinese businessman who completed the entire hike using a travel luggage suitcase. Also, two men from Italy who wore singlets/tanktops and flip flops/thongs and carried their gear in plastic shopping bags the entire hike, packing mostly beer and jerky. Another hiker apparently didn’t realise that the hut water, along with rivers in the national park were safe to drink from and so carried around 10L of water through the mountains. We had fantastic weather on our hike, apart from the second day, during which we had to traverse the mountains during a snow storm. So, if you plan to complete this hike during the winter or autumn, make sure to pack warm clothes to account for possible bad weather, even if it seems mostly sunny.