PHOTOS + PACKING LIST: The Kepler Track, Fiordland, New Zealand

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The Kepler Track is one of New Zealand’s 10 Great Walks.

It is located in Fiordland and is a 60 kilometre loop that can be done over 3-4 days - though some will do it in 2 and others will run the entire track in (less than) a day!

I (Thuc - SWW’s Marketing + Events Coordinator) started at the Control Gates and finished at Rainbow Reach, coming in at 50.5 kilometres over 3 nights.

SUPER QUICK BREAKDOWN

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It took me 4.5 hours to hike from the Control Gates to Luxmore Hut. The first hour to Brod Bay is relatively flat. Afterwards, it is a persistent climb until you reach an expanse of tussock and incredible mountain views (finally!) with about 30 minutes to go until the Hut.

From Luxmore Hut to Iris Burn took me just over 4.5 hours in terms of hours actually walking…but Day 2 is incredibly spectacular and I took many breaks to soak it all up. I camped at Iris Burn instead of staying in the hut. The reasons for this are solitude, better sleep and I got to use my Macpac Sololight Hiking Tent (review coming!). The last 2 hours have you descending all the way down to the river so watch those knees!

From Iris Burn to Moturau Hut took me around 5 hours including a snack and lunch stop. It is mostly flat with some short climbs. I stayed a night at Moturau Hut which is totally unnecessary. I had planned and booked the track in a rush so this was my mistake. I wish I had pushed on to Rainbow Reach to save myself $130 in hut fees. HOWEVER, it was very nice to have some downtime and reflect on what I had just done and seen.

From Moturau Hut to Rainbow Reach is a quick 90 minutes and it’ll have you exiting the track on a big swing bridge over the river.

It was my first Great Walk and I loved every moment of it.

Below you will find some photographs and my packing list.

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PHOTOS

 Luxmore Hut

Luxmore Hut

 Sunrise at Luxmore Hut

Sunrise at Luxmore Hut

 Hanging Valley Shelter

Hanging Valley Shelter

 Lots of lush, fantastical goblin forests on the Kepler Track

Lots of lush, fantastical goblin forests on the Kepler Track

 Walking along the ridges on Day 2 is seriously magical

Walking along the ridges on Day 2 is seriously magical

 Shallow Bay is 30 minutes from Moturau Hut and is a good, pretty and free alternative :)

Shallow Bay is 30 minutes from Moturau Hut and is a good, pretty and free alternative :)

 Feeling tiny on Day 2 along the ridges

Feeling tiny on Day 2 along the ridges

 Another photo from sunrise from Luxmore Hut

Another photo from sunrise from Luxmore Hut

 There were a handful of short sections that are still snow-covered as at late-October but nothing that can’t be handled with solid hiking boots (and some trekking poles for added balance if you’re concerned!)

There were a handful of short sections that are still snow-covered as at late-October but nothing that can’t be handled with solid hiking boots (and some trekking poles for added balance if you’re concerned!)

For more, go to Instagram

For Instagram Story Highlights for the entire track, click here

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PACKING LIST

This is EVERYTHING that I carried in my TNF 65L Banchee Pack with notes in italics for what I would ditch/replace in hindsight.

Clothing

1 x Lululemon full-length tights

2 x Lululemon tank tops + 1 x Lululemon sports bra

1 x Icebreaker long-sleeved baselayer (I hiked in this a lot of the time)

1 x Macpac down jacket - I could’ve done without this. It was cool enough for it some moments but I could’ve just worn every single one of my top layers instead. I would’ve preferred another pair of tights!

1 x Macpac fleece jacket

1 set of XTM merino wool thermals (basically my pyjamas/post-tramp outfit)

1 x TNF raincoat

1 x TNF rain pants

3 x socks: two pairs of merino and one pair of Injinji toe sock liners

1 x Icebreaker merino wool liner gloves - didn’t need these

1 x hat

1 x Merrell hiking shoes

1 x bikini

Underwear for each day

1 x Kathmandu microfibre towel

Food

Oats + trail mix for breakfast

Tuna sachets + wraps for lunch

Baby cucumbers, carrots, capsicums (all heavy but totally worth it)

Pumpkin soup mix (so very loved)

Tea

Heaps of assorted bars

Treats! Chocolate-covered pretzels, peanut butter pretzels and chocolate-covered ginger :)

Emergency meal of rice and tuna

Camping gear

1 x Macpac Sololight tent (unpacked)

1 x Sea to Summit down sleeping bag

1 x XTM merino wool sleeping bag liner

1 x Sea to Summit inflatable pillow

1 x Black Diamond head lamp + spare batteries

Kitchenware

1 x Nalgene 1L water bottle - Nalgene bottles can handle boiling water so you can make them into literal hot water bottles…which I did when camping at Iris Burn on my second night :)

1 x stainless steel pot

1 x titanium spoon

1 x OtterBox Tumbler

1 x stove + gas + matches - I really should’ve bought a lighter along too! Always have a backup method of lighting your stove!

Ziplock bags + plastic bags

Toiletries + personal items

Toothbrush + toothpaste

Moisturiser

Contact lenses + glasses + sunglasses

Sunscreen + lip balm

Insect repellant*** SO CRUCIAL

Nail clippers + tweezers

First Aid kit

Journal + pen

Sleep mask + ear plugs*** AGAIN, SO CRUCIAL

Electronics

Canon 5D Mark III + 24-105mm

All my spare batteries + memory cards

Sirui tripod

Goal Zero Venture 30 battery pack + iPhone charger cord

AirPods

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Want to do the Kepler Track?

Check out the DOC Fees + Bookings page for clear steps on how to organise. If weather permits and you have the right skills, I would recommend going just before the season starts to save a whole lotta dollars. You could also do the track in 3 days, 2 nights. If you want to do 3 nights, you could camp at Shallow Bay for free, which is 30 minutes further than Moturau Hut.

Whatever you choose to do, visit the DOC Office in Te Anau before heading out to get all the necessary weather and track updates.

Happy tramping :)

Best Tips, adviceThuc DoComment