1 Jun 2018

Talk the Walk: The Kepler

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan, 3:15 pm on 1 June 2018

Robbie Reid, aka Lord of the Sandflies, is DOC ranger for the Kepler Track and he’s the ultimate expert on this Great Walk.

He’s been based at Iris Burn Hut and Campsite for past nine seasons hosting 60-80 people per night – that’s more than 11,000 over the season.

The 60km circuit from Lake Te Anau to Luxmore, across the Jackson Peaks to Iris Burn and Moturau Hut can be walked in either direction,and takes from one to four days depending on your fitness level.

“It was built around 30 years ago to take pressure off the Milford and Routeburn tracks,” Robbie says.

“But lately it’s become an identity in its own right.

“On the backpacker grapevine, they say if you’ve only got time to do one track in New Zealand, do the Kepler.”

Luxmore Hut has beautiful views down onto Lake Te Anau, he says. Rangers do a nature walk in the afternoons and there are caves to explore. On the ridge to Iris Burn hut there are more spectacular views – though the wind can get up to 120-140km/h once or twice a season.

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Morning cloud at Luxmore Photo: Robbie Reid

Heading down the valley towards Lake Manapouri is Robbie’s favourite part of the track with beech forest, ferns, and birdlife.

Moturau Hut on the shores of Lake Manapouri is a great place to chill out for the last night, he says.

It’s a popular track and you do need to book early, he says.

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