Introduction

Here is a detailed description of the Kepler Track during the Great Walks season, including hut to hut distances and estimated walking times, features, optional side trips, a track map and hill profile.

In this section

What to expect

Great Walk tracks are of a higher standard than most other tracks so are well formed and easy to follow. The tracks are usually quite wide depending on the terrain – some fit two people walking side by side in flat areas.

The surface is usually gravel, rock or dirt, and like any track can get slippery in wet weather.

Most rivers and waterways on these tracks have sturdy bridges. Occasionally there are also small streams that cross the track but are usually easy enough to step across safely. Be aware that in wet weather rivers can rise very quickly and flood the tracks.

There are hill climbs where the track becomes steeper, which is all the better for views.

Outside the Great Walks season (4 May 2017 - 23 October 2017):

Facilities are greatly reduced and there are additional safety hazards to consider.

Walking the track during this time should only be attempted by fit, experienced and well-equipped people. For more information see Walking the Kepler Track outside the Great Walks season.

Children and youth
  • Children under 15 years must be with an adult.
  • Alpine sections of the Kepler Track are not recommended for children under 10 years.
  • Also see: Children and families in Fiordland.

Walking options

Walk the full track. Most walkers take 4 days/3 nights.

Enjoy a day walk. Kepler Track carpark to Dock Bay and Brod Bay | Kepler Track carpark to Rainbow ReachRainbow Reach to Shallow Bay or Moturau Hut | Kepler Track carpark to Luxmore Hut

Places to stay

There are 3 huts and 2 campsites along the Kepler Track, which must be booked in advance during the Great Walks season.

Camping or staying overnight in the shelters at Forest Burn and Hanging Valley is not permitted.

Hut facilities

In the Great Walks season (25 October 2016 - 3 May  2017):

  • Plenty of bunks with mattresses (between 40 to 54) in a communal sleeping layout.
  • Water supply, flushing toilets, wash basins with cold running water (but no showers).
  • Heating with fuel available, and usually solar lighting in the main area.
  • Cooking facilities with fuel, tables and seating (but no cooking utensils).
  • A friendly conservation ranger - they like to chat, they know the area well and can tell you about the environment and weather, or help out should an emergency arise.

Outside the Great Walks season (4 May 2017 - 23 October 2017):

  • Gas is not provided - you will need to bring your own cooking stove.
  • Flush toilets are replaced with self-containment toilets.
  • Running water is turned off inside the huts. Water can be obtained from the outside water tank, if this is frozen, then from the nearest water course or by melting snow.
  • There are no conservation rangers based at the huts.
  • Beds are on a first come, first served basis
Campsite facilities

Great Walk campsites are in scenic locations, and usually near huts. You cannot use the hut facilities, but at each campsite you will find:

  • An open cooking shelter.
  • Water supply tap.
  • Clean toilet.
  • A friendly hut warden (from the nearby hut during summer season) who may visit to chat and check campsite tickets.

Toilets are available at huts, campsites and shelters.

Detailed description

The Kepler Track (60 km) starts and finishes at the Kepler Track carpark.

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.

Kepler Track carpark to Brod Bay

Time: 1 hr 30 min
Distance: 5.6 km

The track begins with a stroll through the beech forest along the shore of Lake Te Anau, the largest body of fresh water in Australasia, to Brod Bay.

Brod Bay. Image: Toby Jones.

Brod Bay Campsite

Category: Great Walk
Facilities: 15 non-powered/tent sites, shelter for cooking, water from tap
Bookings required
Brod Bay to Luxmore Hut

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

A challenging climb under impressive limestone bluffs takes you above the bushline to panoramic views of the Te Anau Basin and surrounding mountains. Luxmore Hut is a 45 minute walk from the bushline.

Luxmore Hut. Photo: Nyia Strachan.

Luxmore Hut

Category: Great Walk
Facilities: 54 bunk beds, cooking, heating, lighting, mattresses
Bookings required

Side trip: Luxmore Cave

Time: 20 min return

The track from the hut is clearly signposted.

Side trip: Luxmore summit

Time: 30 min return

In fine weather you’ll be rewarded with stunning panoramic views from the highest point on the track (1472 m).

Luxmore Hut to Iris Burn Hut

Time: 5 – 6 hr
Distance: 14.6 km

Start your day on top of the world. From the hut, you’ll climb to a ridge just below Mount Luxmore, with stunning views across the south fiord of Lake Te Anau to the Murchison Mountains. A welcoming sight after a day on the tops, Iris Burn Hut is situated in a large tussock clearing.

Iris Burn Hut, Kepler Track. Image: Tyler Ray Photography.

Iris Burn Hut

Category: Great Walk
Facilities: 50 bunk beds, cooking, heating, lighting, mattresses
Bookings required
Iris Burn campsite.

Iris Burn Campsite

Category: Great Walk
Facilities: 15 non-powered/tent sites, shelter for cooking, water from tap
Bookings required
Iris Burn Hut to Moturau Hut

Time: 5–6 hr
Distance: 16.2 km

Experience ever-changing scenery as the track takes you over a low saddle, then down past a large slip caused by heavy rain to Rocky Point. You’ll then wind through a gorge and lowland beech and podocarp forest, before reaching the shore of beautiful Lake Manapouri. The beach-side Moturau Hut has stunning views of the lake.

Happy trampers at Moturau Hut, Kepler Track. Photo copyright: Susan Adams. DOC USE ONLY.

Moturau Hut

Category: Great Walk
Facilities: 40 bunk beds, cooking, heating, lighting, mattresses
Bookings required
Moturau Hut to Rainbow Reach

Time: 1 hr 30 min - 2 hr
Distance: 6 km

The last day is easy walking across a unique and fragile wetland. The track then follows the Waiau River terrace to the swing bridge at Rainbow Reach. You can leave the track here and catch a shuttle bus to Te Anau.

Rainbow Reach to Kepler Track carpark

Time: 2 hr 30 min – 3 hr 30 min
Distance: 9.5 km

Continue alongside the Waiau River to the Kepler Track car park.

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.

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