Kepler Track

Coordinates: -45.4411, 167.68664

Only 5 km from Te Anau, the 56 km Kepler Track may be New Zealand's most accessible great walk. Officially it starts and finishes from the Control Gates at the outlet of Lake Te Anau, it can be walked in either direction but the alpine section over Mount Luxmore is typically walked first.

The 3 to 4 day track can be cut into a shorter adventure by taking a water taxi to Brod Bay 5 km from the start and exiting the track at Rainbow Reach. Both the Control Gates and Rainbow Reach are serviced regularly by Tracknet.

If done in the usual direction the Kepler Track meanders along the shore of Lake Te Anau, climbs quickly through spectacular and increasingly alpine Beech forest to the tree line, arcs along exposed tops and ridge lines providing stunning mountain views, descends rapidly into the Iris Burn Valley, follows the enchanting Iris Burn and the shore of Lake Manapouri to Rainbow Reach on the Waiau River, and returns to the Control Gates at lake Te Anau along the true right bank of the Waiau River.

The track is maintained to a very high standard by DOC and in the Great Walks season, October to May, all of the huts are manned by a warden. Bookings are usually required a long time in advance.

In the winter and spring the alpine section is prone to avalanche danger and is a very serious proposition, even for experienced and well prepared trampers. There is a warden at Luxmore Hut all year round.

Please do not let the Kepler Track's Great Walk status prevent you from enjoying a day walk on the track, it is a national treasure, enjoyed frequently by local walkers and runners. The most popular option is the 5km walk from the Control Gates to Brod Bay, but it is possible for a very fit walker to walk as far as Luxmore Hut and back on a long summer day. Consider walking the 9km downhill Waiau River section from the Control Gates to Rainbow Reach. Or walking to Moturau Hut and beyond from Rainbow Reach. It is also possible to ride a bicycle to the Control Gates and Rainbow Reach on the Lake2Lake Bike Trail. Bicycles are not allowed on the Kepler Track.

Local schools are involved in conservation projects on the track through Kids Restore The Kepler. The exceptionally popular Kepler Challenge mountain ultra marathon is run annually on the first Saturday of December over the full Kepler Track. The winning runner usually completes the course in 4 1/2 hours and the bulk of runners come in between 8 and 12 hours.

Explore with the Milford Sound Guide

Kepler Track