Ry & J's South Pacific Tour '05 travel blog

Te Anau Beach along Track

Above the Bush Line

J and AMC

Kepler Track is one of the 4 "Great Walks" of NZ. They as a nation are very big into "tramping" which is hiking, treking, or whatever you will call it. The great walks are meant to be walks of incredibly scenery with well kept trails and it proved to be so. As we were planning our trip we found that the DOC recommends the trip of 68 kilometers be done in 4 days and 3 nights. We were told that reasonably fit folks can do it in 3 days and two nights if you wish to camp, our plan. There are 3 huts on the circuit and a couple other places to camp so that you can work out distances you want to go per day and where to stop. When we went to book, however, another DOC person was working and would not let us book that way as she was certain we could not walk it in the amount of time. Though frustrated by this, we booked into the Luxmore Hut the first night and a campground at the next hut for the next night and planned to hike out the 3rd day even though it was not recommended. The first day was supposed to take us 10 hours according to their guidelines. We made it in 5 and a half and a good portion was uphill. That night was incredibly windy as we were above the bushline and near the saddle of a couple peaks. Winds were gusting above 80 mph with such explosive acceleration that the whole building shook. It rained through the night and finally let up to drizzle by 11 am when we decided to set out. As we climbed the precipitation fluctuated from heavy to light and anywhere from drizzle to rain to sleet to snow that was actually blowing horizontal and even up at times when we were crossing some of the ridges. After an hour we made it to a shelter to warm up and make some decisions. At that point the sun was out for the briefest of moments and we got back on the track. Made it to the Iris Burn hut where we were meant to camp and had a quick lunch. Decided to hoof it out to where we had parked. As we headed back down the mountain the temps came up, but we remained very wet and plenty cool. The last hour we walked with our headlamps and made it to the car about 8:30. Stopped for a total of 20 minutes all day for quick breaks and lunch and had put on over 24 miles. We were fairly spent and made our way for a shower and much deserved dinner. Sleep came very easy that night. Sadly we did not get many pics of the track as the weather just did not allow for it. We did really enjoy it.

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