Another Great Walk (Part Three) – The Kepler Track

“On a Mish” #169 Another Great Walk (Part Three). The Kepler Track. Fiordland National Park. 6.5.2010. There are a few things people do in Fiordland which really puzzle me. While being beautiful it is still a place which can be dangerous. The ‘Great Walk’ tracks are not only well-groomed walkways that make tackling the terrain as easy as possible, but also each hut has a ranger who is not just there to collect the tickets. I know of a few situations when wayward walkers have been rescued by the rangers who are out there in the action. While my father and I were walking the Kepler Track early winter p, we thought the Luxmore Hut ranger might have to venture into the wild weather to rescue an older couple…

By the time it was dark, word of the missing pair had spread throughout the hut’s occupants. Along with my father Jeremy, a few of my fellow Routeburn Track Guides were walking the track. We had gathered to discuss whether we should go and have a look for the missing two. However, not long after we began our chat, two headtorch lights appeared out of the darkness. They had made it, and the team breathed a sight of relief.

Now that everyone was accounted for, the hut ranger gave us a chat about the area and wrangled in several fellas who thought that paying hut fees didn’t apply to them! This is unfortunately something that happens a lot, which is disappointing considering the cash collected goes to the maintenance of the tracks and huts.

With that day one was over. It was action packed and had us very excited about what was to come. But before day two could start I had to survive the symphony of sorning sounds. The band was well tuned and tuned up that night – and the next!

Early-ish the next day we were up before most and, after a good breakfast we were off, but not to start hiking the track. Mt Luxmore has a series of caves which can be explored however, both me and my old man are not fans of going underground. The Mt Luxmore Cave is a series of chambers, each having a squeeze to get through to access the next. We got to the second chamber, and both decided we liked the world above ground!

After the cave we gathered our packs and began our trek from Luxmore Hut to Iris Burn Hut. This section of track is one of the best stretches of trail in Aotearoa. After rounding the western faces of Mt Luxmore, the track gets to a junction where it is possible to climb to the summit of Mt Luxmore. The snow from the day before made the climb even more epic and, after getting to the top, we had incredible views of not only Lake Te Anau but also range after range of Fiordland peaks.

After getting back down to the junction we continued along the ridge-top track, and it became very obvious that the Kepler Track was much more the just another ‘Great Walk’…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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