The Routeburn

November 6th we headed to Queenstown to run the last of our 8 Great Walks. One bloke down due to a knee operation (showing our age) !

We were joined by our wonderful wives to celebrate and have a magic weekend away.

Due to the large distance between the 2 ends of the track we arranged a helicopter from Glenorchy to The Divide.

The special feature of the Routeburn is the more than 10kms you spend above the bush line.

One section of the track had been closed due to avalanche danger.  2 days before our run it was given the all clear.

Here is the video

We had great service from

Glenorchy Helicopters

Glenorchy Shuttles

Queenstown Park Hotel

Photos from our trip

Heaphy Track

June 6th we ventured on to the longest of the Great Walks 79km!

The Heaphy Track is a popular tramping track in the north west of the South Island of New Zealand. It is located within the Kahurangi National Park and classified as one of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks by the Department of Conservation. Named after Charles Heaphy, the track is 78.4 kilometres (48.7 mi) long and is usually walked in four or five days. The track runs from Kohaihai, north of Karamea on the northern west coast of the South Island to the upper valley of the Aorere River, inland from Golden Bay. We ran it in the other direction from Golden Bay to Kohaihai.



This was the toughest of the runs to arrange, we needed to ship a pack of dry clothes to Karamea a week before for after the run. We had to stay at Brown Hut at the start of the track because we had to start running at 6am, Brown hut is a freezing cold hut in June and the fireplace didn’t produce much heat at all. It was warmer outside the hut in the morning than inside.

We had great service from Golden Bay Air who we flew with and arranged the transfers of our bags, to Karamea and the pick up of our pack from Brown Hut after we started our run. They also arranged our pick up Kohaihai complete with a few cold beers! Even Speights tastes great after 79km.

We ate and stayed at the Karamea Hotel after the run, the steak was great and the breakfast was fantastic, a complete flied breakfast, eggs, bacon and sausage . True rural kiwi hospitality.

We flew back from Karamea over the Track the next day, it was a beautiful day and magic to see the country we had covered the day before.

From Wiki

Māori tribes are known to have settled along the lower course of the Heaphy River as early as the 16th century. Evidence has been found that the area crossed by today’s Heaphy Track had been explored in pre-European times by Māori seeking greenstone (pounamu) in the Gouland Downs sector.
The first visit to the area by persons whose names were recorded took place in 1846, when Charles Heaphy, Thomas Brunner and their Māori guide Kehu, supported by another guide Etau,[1] explored the coastal sector of the track.
The first recorded crossing of the whole range approximately along today’s was by a European gold miner named Aldrige in 1859. Another visit by James MacKay and John Clark took place the following year.[citation needed]
During and after the West Coast Gold Rush of the 1860s the area was extensively visited for gold and the track was definitely laid out by various prospectors and surveyors, among them JB Saxon in 1888.[citation needed] No gold was found in the area and after thirty years prospecting came to an end and by 1900 the track was virtually forgotten and became overgrown and seldom used except by an occasional hunter.[citation needed]
The creation of the North-west Nelson Forest Park in 1965, which became Kahurangi National Park in 1996, led to the rediscovery and improvement of the track.[citation needed]
The track is now tramped by thousands of people every year.[2]
Landscape along the track[edit]
The Heaphy track is renowned for the variety of landscapes crossed; every 20 km section is significantly different from the previous one.
Walking the path east to west, the journey begins through a forest where beeches (Nothofagus) are dominant. Some zigzags lead to the highest point of the track, at 915 m, with good views to the surrounding mountains.
From there on, tussocks replace forests, and the Gouland Downs are entered soon, a large featureless area drained by many rivers, with swingbridges helping to cross them when they are in spate.
Now woody patches regain over tussock moors; near Gouland Downs Hut, beeches covered by thick moss are reminiscent of the wettest forests of southern New Zealand.
After several kilometers of alternating tussock downs and bush, MacKay Hut is reached, with broad views reaching to the Tasman Sea. There begins a long descent through the bush. This time podocarps are dominant, including impressive large rimu trees.
At the end of this descent, the Heaphy River valley is reached at Lewis Hut. The river course is followed for 8 km of peaceful flat walk, crossing the Heaphy River and several affluents on long swingbridges. This leads to discovering the nikau palm forest, which is probably the most striking feature of the Heaphy Track.
The seashore is reached at Heaphy Hut, at the mouth of the Heaphy River. The last section is a coastal walk, alternating sandy beaches beaten by the waves and forest sections, where nikau palms dominate.
Roading debate[edit]
Repeated attempts, from the 1950s to the 1980s, by the South Island Local Bodies Association to have the Ministry of Works build the road were made. The Ministry considered the road proposal to be too expensive and did not view it as a priority.[3]
The famed coastal strip with its iconic nikau palm groves was particularly at risk with any road construction. Even with simple track construction at Crayfish Point many years ago, the overall effect was to see major slips carry the groves into the sea. Those fighting roading proposals felt this could be the result along the very narrow, palm-covered coastal strip if road construction were to take place.
Up until the 1980s the threats to the track were real, as the local population and councils largely supported roading in the belief that a “tourist circuit” of the South Island would increase the access and popularity of the area. The track proponents argued the damage could never be justified and that the popularity would come more in the form of people being drawn to the area for days rather than those who would drive through and use “comfort stops”.
The campaign to “save” the Track and the popular support the conservation effort gathered over many years became pivotal in changing the attitude of the authorities to environmental matters. The New Zealand Government instigated many changes to curb unnecessary environmental destruction.
Following the major campaigns, track use grew substantially. Of more recent times track use has moderated to a point where it now forms an integral part of the great New Zealand walking experience.
As the popularity increased, more resources were put into track maintenance and facilities. Today, the track is well defined and serviced and capable of being walked by a wide age group. A number of commercial operators now provide guiding facilities and packing ability, thus allowing a wider age group to enjoy this extended walk.
Mountain biking[edit]
Before the area became a National Park mountain biking was permitted on the track. As a National Park use of the area comes under the National Parks Act 1980, which stipulates that vehicles are not allowed to be taken off formed roads. This prevents mountain bikers from using the track and debate has been on-going to allow at least some access. The New Zealand Conservation Authority decided to permit mountain bike access again from May 2011 for the winter months when tramping numbers are low.[4] Mountain biking will be allowed each year from 1 May for groups not exceeding six riders.[5]

Milford Track

April 2015 we headed to Te Anau to run the Milford Track.

We had a fun side trip to Highland Motor Sport park, wow what a facility. Andrew smoked us on the first round of the Go Karts with Anthony getting revenge the second time round.

Anthony aka Whippet sorted out a great pad Birchwood Cottages, we sorted out some good home cooking for dinner and prepared our special sandwiches for the next day.

Anthony’s mate Sam had arrange Blue to take 7 of us to the start of the track at Glade Wharf in his boat, leaving Te Anau Downs at 6am, we headed out from the Wharf in the dark after stashing some beers in the lake for our return.

Here are our videos of one of the finest walks in the world

GPS Info

From Wiki

The Milford Track is a widely known tramping (hiking) route in New Zealand – located amidst mountains and temperaterain forest in Fiordland National Park in the southwest of the South Island.

The 53.5 km hike starts at the head of Lake Te Anau and finishes Milford Sound at Sandfly Point, traversing rainforests, wetlands, and an alpine pass.

The native Māori people used the Milford Track for gathering and transporting valuable greenstone. There are many Māori legends about the track and the native species found in it.

Donald Sutherland and John Mackay were the first European explorers to see what are now known as Mackay Falls andSutherland Falls, in 1880.

Quintin McKinnon was the trekker and entrepreneur that first widely disseminated information about the Milford Track to the general public. He began by guiding tours himself and expanded with a marketing campaign from there. Many parts of the Milford Track are named for Mackinnon, including Mackinnon Pass, the highest point of the Track. According to the official New Zealand Department of Conservation literature, Mackinnon also impressed with his “ability at cooking pompolonas, a type of scone from which one of the guided trip huts takes its name.”[1]

With Milford Sound never really having an industrial or agricultural future, most visitors and investors from early on decided that tourism was to be the main draw to the sound, and the Milford Track was established to a large degree to provide a tourism function for guided treks.

The track was very famous with women from early on. Some parties consisted of three-quarters females even in the first half of the 20th century.[2]

For a great length of its history, only commercial companies had the right to be on the track. Only later did the ‘Freedom Walker’ movement, led by New Zealand’s alpine and walking clubs, force a compromise which allowed individual, non-guided tours on the strictly “rationed” route. Today, the quota system allows approximately half the “capacity” of the track to be used by guided tours while the other half is undertaken by people walking on their own or in informal groups. Both groups use separate systems of huts.

Due to its popularity and the limited facilities available for overnighting (camping is not permitted), the track therefore remains heavily regulated.

Summer peak season

During the summer peak season of late October to late April, access to the trail is highly regulated. Walkers must complete the track in four days, travelling only in the northward direction. Camping is prohibited on the trail. Walkers can tramp the track independently, or as part of a more expensive guided walk with a guide company. A maximum of 90 walkers can start the trail per day (40 Independent, and 50 Guided). Usually these 90 places are booked out for many months in advance, despite the high cost of the guided walks.

Due to the one-way ticket system and limited hut capacities, trampers need to keep moving even during bad weather. During periods of especially heavy flooding, the DOC regularly calls in helicopters which fly trampers over flooded sections of the track at no further charge.[3]

Independent tramping

If hiking independently, each night must be spent in a hut owned and maintained by the Department of Conservation. The huts for independent walkers have basic facilities, which include bunk areas, restrooms, and cooking facilities; walkers have to carry their own equipment and food.

Guided tramp

On a guided walk, walkers stay in lodges owned and operated by Ultimate Hikes. These lodges have facilities such as hot showers, catered meals, beds, lounge areas, electric lights, and drying rooms. Guided trampers need only carry clothing, toiletries, their sheets, and lunch while on the trail. Guides walk with trampers, providing as little or as much assistance as required.

Off Season

During the off season from May to mid-October, the track is essentially unregulated, and can be tramped in either direction, over any number of days. It is however much more difficult and dangerous tramping in this season, as facilities at huts are removed, some bridges are removed to prevent avalanche damage. Advice to those contemplating using the track during the winter includes:

“…there are 57 avalanche paths in the area, some of which may cross the track and bring avalanche debris to the valley floor…. you must be competent at crossing large, swift, icy rivers…Mackinnon Pass is not marked and is often covered in deep snow…”[4]

Name Description Distance Coordinates
DOC Huts
Clinton Hut Night 1, shortly before Clinton Forks, after the marsh boardwalk 5.0 km 44°54′18.23″S 167°54′6.63″E
Mintaro Hut Night 2, Situated just before the start of the climb up to Mackinnon Pass 21.5 km 44°48′37.61″S 167°46′34.84″E
Dumpling Hut Night 3, A few kilometers after Quintin Lodge 35.5 km 44°46′07.18″S 167°45′56.35″E

Tongariro Northern Circuit

On Saturday we set out on the fifth of our Great Walk Adventures. We headed up to Ohakune on Friday night and woke to a beautiful clear day. So beautiful that we couldn’t resist adding climbing Ngauruhoe along the way.

Check out the video’s, awesome adventure!


The Tongariro Northern Circuit, one of the New Zealand Great Walks, is a three to four day tramp in Tongariro National Park, New Zealand. The hike includes theTongariro Alpine Crossing, a day’s march that incorporates the Northern Circuit’s most stunning scenery. The complete trail forms a 50 kilometres long loop trail that circumnavigates Mount Ngauruhoe. Approximately 7,000 trampers complete the walk each year. This compares to the approximately 25,000 who walk only the Tongariro Crossing section. [1]
Tongariro Alpine Crossing showing the Emerald Lakes and the Blue Lake.


Whakapapa Village to Mangatepopo Hut

Time: 3 hr
Distance: 8.5 km

Begin 100 metres below the Whakapapa Visitor Centre at Ngauruhoe Place and along the lower Taranaki Falls track. After about 20 minutes the Mangatepopo track branches off from the Taranaki Falls track.

Heavily eroded in places the track crosses many stream beds. Ahead and to the right is Pukekaikiore, thought to be one of the older vents of the Tongariro complex. To the left is Pukeonake, a low scoria cone. Both Pukekaikiore and Pukeonake witnessed the last ice age when glaciers from Tongariro carved down through Mangatepopo Valley. The giant cone of Ngauruhoe and the flatter form of Tongariro are visible ahead. Ngauruhoe is a younger ‘parasitic’ cone on the side of Tongariro.

For the last hour the track skirts around Pukekaikiore until it reaches the Mangatepopo Valley track. The Mangatepopo Hut is five minutes off of the main track.

Mangatepopo Hut

Mangatepopo Hut

Category: Great Walk
Facilities: 20 bunk beds, cooking, heating, mattresses
Bookings required

Mangatepopo Hut to Emerald Lakes

Time: 3 hr 30 min
Distance: 8 km

The track follows Mangatepopo stream up the valley, climbing over a succession of old lava flows from Ngauruhoe. The youngest, very black, lava flows were erupted from Ngauruhoe in 1949 and 1954.

A five minute detour at the head of the valley leads to the cold Soda Springs and waterfall, which emerge beneath an old lava flow. In spring and summer moisture loving plants such as white foxgloves and yellow buttercups thrive in the area.

The steep climb required to reach the Mangatepopo Saddle rewards climbers views of the valley and if clear, Mt Taranaki to the west. From the saddle the track crosses South Crater, not a true crater but a drainage basin between the surrounding volcanic landforms.

Ahead more recent lava flows can be seen spilling over from Red Crater. The climb up to Red Crater offers splendid views of Oturere Valley and Kaimanawa Ranges to the east.

The main track continues on past the rim of Red Crater itself. The spectacular formation on the far side of the crater is a dike, an old magma feeding pipe to the vent of the volcano. Harder than the ash and scoria around it erosion has left it exposed on the side of the crater.

North Crater is the large flat topped crater to the north. This vent once contained a lava lake which cooled to infill the crater.

Blue Lake is visible from the top of Red Crater, across the Central Crater – which like South Crater is actually another drainage basin. Blue Lake has formed where cold fresh water fills an old vent.

A scoria covered ridge leads down to the spectacular Emerald Lakes, which fill old explosion pits. Their brilliant colouring is caused by minerals washed down from the thermal area of Red Crater.

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing continues from Emerald Lakes to Ketetahi Road.

This is an Active Volcanic Hazard Zone – eruptions are possible without warning. The Te Maari craters erupted in August and November 2012. Know about volcanic risks and what do to in the event of an eruption.

Emerald Lakes to Oturere Hut

Time: 1 hr 30 min
 4.8 km

From Emerald Lakes the track descends steeply into the Oturere Valley with views of the valley, the Kaimanawa Ranges and the Rangipo Desert. The track weaves through an endless variety of unusual jagged lava forms from early eruptions from Red Crater which filled Oturere Valley.

A magical place to visit especially on a misty day. The Oturere Hut is nestled on the eastern edge of these flows. There is a pretty waterfall over the ridge from the hut.

Oturere Hut

Oturere Hut

Category: Great Walk
Facilities: 26 bunk beds, cooking, heating, mattresses
Bookings required

Oturere Hut to Waihohonu Hut

Time: 3 hr
 7.5 km

After leaving Oturere Hut the track undulates over a number of stream valleys and open gravel fields. Plant life here has been constantly repressed by volcanic eruptions, altitude and climate. Loose gravel means that recolonisation by plants is a slow process on the open and bare countryside.

The track gradually sidles around the foot hills of Ngauruhoe descending into a valley and crossing one of the branches of the Waihohonu Stream. Continue through a beech clad valley before climbing towards the ridge top. Waihohonu Hut is in the next valley.

Waihohonu Hut

Waihohonu Hut

Category: Great Walk
Facilities: 28 bunk beds, cooking, heating, mattresses
Bookings required

Waihohonu Hut to Whakapapa Village

Distance: 14.3 km
Time: 5 hr

The track follows the Waihohonu stream and gradually climbs to Tama Saddle. This area can be windy as it sits between the mountains.

From the saddle there is a very worthwhile side trip to the striking Tama Lakes, two infilled explosion craters. The lower lake is only 10 minutes from the junction, while the upper lake is up a steep ridge, taking 1 hour 30 minutes return.

Whakapapa Village is about two hours from the Tama Lakes junction. After the first hour the track meets the Taranaki Falls loop walk, one of the best short walks in the Park. There are two options to return to the village, both take about an hour. To view the waterfall, follow the lower section of the track down the steps to its base, then follow the Wairere stream through beautiful mountain beech forest back to the village.

Alternatively take the upper section of track through open tussock and shrubland back to the village.

Side trip: Ohinepango Springs

Time: 1 hr return from Waihohonu Hut

Crystal clear cold water bubbles up from beneath the old lava flow and discharges at an enormous rate into the Ohinepango Stream.

The springs are signposted on the Round the Mountain Track heading south towards Rangipo Hut.

Side trip: Historic Waihohonu Hut

Time: 20 min return from Waihohonu Hut; 10 min return from the Tongariro Northern Circuit Track

Built in 1903/04, this was the first hut built in Tongariro National Park. It’s the oldest example of a typical early two-room mountain hut in New Zealand. Find out more about the historic Waihohonu Hut

Side trip: Tama Lakes

Time: 20 min return to Lower Tama from the junction, 1 hr 30 min return to Upper Tama from the junction.

Access half way between Waihohonu Hut and Whakapapa Village.

Tama Lakes, two infilled explosion craters, are named after Tamatea, the high chief of the Takitimu Canoe, who explored the area six centuries ago.

The lower lake (at 1200 m), is 10 minutes from the junction. Volcanic debris is slowly washing in and filling the crater. The upper lake (at 1314 m) is a further 40 minutes up a steep ridge. This beautiful lake is reputed to be very deep.

Rakiura Great Walk

We headed to Stewart Island via Invercargill, had a short visit to the velodrome before flying the strait in a tiny leaky plane.

We spent the afternoon on Ulva Island which is amazing, a must visit.

The next day we ran the Rakiura Great Walk, we stayed at the South Sea Hotel and run from there to the start of the track adding about 3kms, it was really nice and made it a loop track so no extra transport required.

After the run we spent a few hours at the pub watching the rugby and eating cheese cake I missed out on the night before. The publican hooked us up with one of the local blue cod fishing boats who could take us out for a fish the next morning. We caught a heap of cod and took it back in chilly bags to Wellington. We ate fresh cod for 3 days straight! yummy.

Stewart Island is well worth a visit. It has beaches that more beautiful than Abel Tasman. We are taking the kids next year. The Walk was the easiest of the 8 and the most remote. We didn’t see another person on the track until the last 2kms where we saw 3 day walkers!


Ulva Island (from Scottish Gaelic: Eilean na Ulbha) is a small island about 3.5 km (2.17 mi) long lying within Paterson Inlet, which is part of Stewart Island/Rakiura in New Zealand.[1] It has an area of about 270 hectares (670 acres), the majority of which is part of Rakiura National Park. It was named after the island of Ulva in the Inner Hebrides ofScotland and was formerly called Coopers Island.

Ulva Island’s relative isolation, but easy access from Stewart Island has allowed it to become an important natural resource area. It is a sanctuary for both birds and plants, holding species that on the mainland of New Zealand are rare or have died out. In 1997, the island was declared rat-free, following an eradication program, and extirpated birds have been reintroduced to the island. The birds include the South Island saddleback(tieke), yellowhead (mohua) and Stewart Island robin (toutouwai). Other birds on the island that are rare on the mainland include the Stewart Island Brown Kiwi (tokoeka),Rifleman (Tītitipounamu), Yellow-crowned and Red-fronted Parakeet, and South IslandKākā or forest parrot, as well as several other species. The endangered Yellow-eyed penguin uses the island for breeding sites.[2]

The Rakiura Track is a 29-kilometre (18 mi) tramping track on Stewart Island/Rakiura, New Zealand, and one of the New Zealand Great Walks.

It lies within the Rakiura National Park and can be walked over a one- to three-day period. It generally follows the coastline for a large parts of its length, passing small inlets, large bays and mudflats, before crossing steep hills covered in bush (dense forest) during its middle section. There are two huts on the track, at Port William and the North Arm of Paterson Inlet, and many people overnight at each. There are also camping sites available at Maori Beach, Port William and North Arm.

Large sections of the track have been gravelled, without this, the track often degrades into mud. This is due to two factors, the peaty nature of the soil, and the large amounts of rain that Stewart Island receives during the year. In general, the track is well-maintained, and of easy to medium difficulty. The given track length does not include several additional kilometres of paved road at the start and end of the walk from Half Moon Bay.

The track is equipped with huts for the use of trampers, though these must be booked in advance. The huts are equipped with firewood, flown in by helicopter[1] as no roads connect to any of the huts and trampers are not allowed to cut their own wood. There are no cooking facilities in the huts, therefore trampers are advised to carry their own stoves and cooking equipment. There is a store in Oban where gas canisters can be purchased as well as other necessary supplies.

Walking the Rakiura Track also offers the unusual opportunity to see kiwi in their natural environment.

Visitors can reach Stewart Island either by commercial ferry or by flying from Invercargill Airport on a service operated by Stewart Island Flights.

Abel Tasman Coastal Walk

The boys headed out on the third of our Great Walk Adventures into the beautiful Abel Tasman Coastal Walk

We were kindly put up by David and Trish and treated to some fine hospitality, thank you!

We started out from  Marahua and were picked up from Wainui in the North and driven back to our car to time to watch the Rugby, eat a fine BBQ and rehydrate with a brown sports drink called beer.

We had great service from Trek Express for the end of track pick up, we phone them from the payphone at Totaranui before we ran the last 1 or so of the track.

From Wiki

The Abel Tasman Coast Track is a 51 km (32 mile) long walking track within the Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand. It extends from Marahau in the south to Wainui in the north, with many side tracks. It is one of two main tracks through the park, the other being the Abel Tasman Inland Track, which stretches for 38 km between Tinline Bay and Torrent Bay off the main coastal track. The coastal track is well sheltered, and with mild weather in all seasons, it is accessible and open throughout the year.

As one of the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) Great Walks, the coastal track is well formed and easy to follow. It is the most popular tramping track in New Zealand, and caters for approximately 200,000 visitors every year. It can be walked independently or with commercial operators with guiding, camping, lodge stay and boat stay options. Following a protected coastline, many people combine walking and sea kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park.

To walk the entire 51 km track takes from 3 to 5 days. Single-day walks are popular, as many points are accessible by boat from beaches along the track. Commercial water taxi and boat operators provide pick-up and drop-off services. One of the most popular sections for walkers with limited time is from Bark Bay to Torrent Bay (or vice versa), a distance of 7.8 kilometres, which incorporates some steep paths, beautiful views over the bay and a crossing of the Falls River by a 47 m swing bridge.

To stay overnight in the National Park, visitors must use officially recognised accommodations. Independent travellers use DOC campsites and huts that must be reserved in advance during the most popular months. Commercial properties occupy private land within the boundaries of the National Park and provide lodge-style accommodation. Backpacker accommodation is provided by boats moored off the National Park coast.

With one of the largest tidal ranges in New Zealand, the coast track includes


Last weekend we headed down to Te Anau to run the Kepler.

We arrived into Qtown and had to hold Wippet Anthony Edmond’s back from his favorite bike trail Grundy!

We had a pie and got a few supplies for our big day on the Kepler.

After a lazy beautiful afternoon in Te Anau we got a good rest before hitting the track.

Video By Anthony Edmonds

Click below for the GPS info

Running the Kepler Track in Fiordland

From Wiki

The Kepler Track is a 60 km (37 mi) circular tramping track which travels through some spectacular scenery of the South Island of New Zealand and is situated near the town of Te Anau. The track passes through many landscapes of theFiordland National Park such as rocky mountain ridges, tall mossy forests, lake shores, deep gorges, rare wetlands and rivers. Like the mountains it traverses, the track is named after Johannes Kepler. The track is one of the New Zealand Great Walks and is administered by New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC).

Compared with other tracks in New Zealand, this walking track is constructed to a very high standard. Most streams are bridged, boardwalks cover boggy areas and the very steep sections have steps. It is a moderate walking track that takes three to four days to complete.

The Kepler Track is also home to the Kepler Challenge, an annual running race that traverses the whole 60 kilometres, which the winners complete in less than five hours.


Māori legend has it that Rakaihautu, legendary leader of the Māori migration canoe Uruao, is said to have named the great lakes while exploring the interior of the South Island. During a period of wet weather his party found a large and beautiful lake which they named Te Ana Au, meaning cave of rain, and just south of it another lake which Rakaihautu named Roto Ua, the lake where rain is constant. Today we know Roto Ua as Lake Manapouri. The Kepler is situated between the two lakes.

Richard Henry, Fiordland’s first ranger, lived at the southern end of Lake Te Anau for many years and often explored the Kepler area. James McKerrow named the range after the 17th Century German astronomer Johannes Kepler.

Early tracks up onto Mt. Luxmore were cut by Jack Beer to provide summer grazing for his sheep.[5] Many tracks in New Zealand have evolved from Māori trails or pioneer exploration routes. The Kepler track however was established in 1988 and opened in February of that year as a Great Walk as part of the Fiordland National Park Centennial celebrations. Funding came from New Zealand Tourist and Publicity Department. It was designed to ease the strain on the popularMilford and Routeburn Tracks.[2][4] The track had a considerable contribution from the International Expedition Operation Raleigh during 1986/87, when expeditioners from around the world constructed much of the walkways and the Iris Burn and Mount Luxmore huts.

The caves at Mt Luxmore were also mapped and Mount Raleigh was named above the Iris Burn.


The track is usually recommended to be walked in this route from the Lake Te Anau Control Gates. It can be walked in either direction. If time is short, the track can be shortened to three days by exiting or entering at the Rainbow Reach swing bridge using a car or bus.

While it is possible to complete the Kepler whilst camping this requires a 10 hour hike between Brod Bay and Iris Burn campsites. A much easier option is to stay at Luxmore Hut on the first night, then continue on to Iris Burn campsite for the second night, completing the track to Rainbow Reach on day three.

The price and availability of accommodation varies considerably between the peak season (summer) and the off-season (winter).

Kepler Track Typical 3 and 4 Day Walks[1][2][4]
Place Day (Full) Day (Short) Distance Time Description
Lake Te Anau Control Gates
1 5.6 km (3.5 mi) 1.5 hours The track follows the shores of Lake Te Anau in beech forest to sandy Brod Bay where camping is permitted, and where it is possible to enter or exit the track by an arranged shuttle boat.
Brod Bay
1 8.2 km (5.1 mi) 3.5 – 4.5 hours From Brod Bay, the track climbs up past limestone bluffs (at 747 m or 2,451 ft) to Luxmore Hut (1,085 m or 3,560 ft) on Mt Luxmore. A short walk from the hut leads to a cave, one of about 30 in the area, of which many are still unexplored.
Luxmore Hut
2 2 14.6 km (9.1 mi) 5 – 6 hours A gradual climb from the hut to Luxmore Saddle (1,400 m or 4,600 ft) which is the highest point on the main trail, offering extensive views of the park. There is an opportunity to climb to the peak of Mount Luxmore (1,472 m or 4,829 ft) for a 360 degree view including Lake Te Anau.Emergency shelters are located at Forrest Burn and Hanging Valley – though overnight stays are expressly forbidden, except in an emergency.

The path then follows a long, open ridge toward the Iris Burn and descends via a series of zigzags into a hanging valley. The track descends through forest, and provides a view of a large natural landslide. The Iris Burn Hut (497 m or 1,631 ft) is sited in a large tussock clearing 1.5 km (0.93 mi) from Iris Burn waterfall.

Iris Burn Hut
3 3 16.2 km (10.1 mi) 5 – 6 hours The track climbs over a low saddle and wanders through mixed forest to the large slip formed during heavy rain in January 1984. The track sidles through a gorge to come out on river flats near the mouth of the Iris Burn. It follows the lakeshore around Shallow Bay to Moturau Hut, situated beside a beautiful beach with panoramic views of Lake Manapouri.
Moturau Hut
4 6 km (3.7 mi) 1.5 – 2 hours This short section crosses many small streams, before running next to the Waiau River until it reaches the Rainbow Reach swing bridge, where there is a carpark, and tramper bus services.
Rainbow Reach Swing Bridge
9.5 km (5.9 mi) 2.5 – 3.5 hours The undulating track here traverses mixed forest and crosses many small streams, arriving back at the Control Gates.
Lake Te Anau Control Gates

The Lake Te Anau Control Gates are approximately 4.6 kilometres (2.9 mi)[2] from the DOC visitors centre in Te Anau.

Luxmore Hut and Lake Te Anau from the Kepler Track


The Kepler Track is located in the south west of the South Island. The nearest townships of Te Anau (4.6 km or 2.9 mi[2] away) and Manapouri have a full range of accommodation and shops catering to all tramping needs.

The Kepler Track is accessed from the Lake Te Anau Control Gates, either by road or a 50-minute walk from the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre in Te Anau, or over the swingbridge across the Waiau River at Rainbow Reach, a ten minute (12 km or 7.5 mi) drive from Te Anau.

Shuttle buses also operate during the summer months to entry and exit points on the track and a scheduled boat service provides access to Brod Bay.

Huts And Campsites[edit]

  • Brod Bay campsite
  • Luxmore Hut
  • Iris Burn Hut
  • Iris Burn campsite
  • Moturau Hut

Like most huts on New Zealand’s great walks, you will need to book them with the Department Of Conservation (DOC) New Zealand.[6]


In October we headed up to Lake Waikaremona.

We arrived to our accommodation to find the recent storm had cut power to the area, so we had a quiet beer in the dark hoping the storm would clear for the morning.

Four of us headed out on the track from the Panekire Bluff end, two of the boys walked the track over two days and two of us run the track.

Here is the link to the video summary


lake w


From Wiki

The Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk is a 44 kilometre tramping track which follows the southern and western coast of Lake Waikaremoana in the North Island of New Zealand.[1] Passing through several types of forest, and grassland, track often provides excellent views over the lake. It is classified as one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, and is located in the Te Urewera National Park.



1 Tramping
2 Transport
3 Fees and Reservations
4 Location
5 References
6 External links

The trailheads are at Onepoto, and Hopuruahine, on the southern and northern edges of the lake respectively. Most people take 3 to 4 days to complete the trail.[2]

The trail passes through several areas of private land, and touches the edge of the Puketukutuku Peninsula Kiwi Refuge.

View of Lake Waikaremoana from Panekiri Bluff
Place Distance Time Description
Onepoto 8.8 km 5 hours Passing the former Armed Constabulary Redoubt near the start of the trail, the track then climbs steeply up onto Panekire Bluff. The bluffs form part of the southern shore, and provide spectacular views over the expanse of the lake. Following the ridge, the trail has several sharp dips and climbs. Panekire Hut sits in a small clearing next to the Panekire Trig point (1180m), at the top of the cliffline, with excellent views of the lake.
Panekire Hut
7.6 km 3–4 hours The trail from Panekire Hut goes west, climbing and descending over the Panekire Range, before eventually descending precipitously into much taller and wetter forest. At the end of the descent lies Waiopaoa Hut and Campsite, on the edge of the Waiopaoa Inlet part of the lake.
Waiopaoa Hut and Campsite
3.6 km 1.5 hours Passes grassland, and forest, usually 10-20m from the lakeshore. Just before Korokoro campsite, there is a turnoff up Korokoro river, to Korokoro Falls which takes about 30 minutes each way.
Korokoro Campsite
6.8 km 2.5 hours This section has a very large number of meanders in the trail, as it follows the lakeside, and toward the Maraunui Campsite, follows a river upstream, before crossing it, and returning downstream.
Maraunui Campsite
1.7 km 0.5 hours A brief walk through grassland and over a small ridge.
Marauiti Hut and Campsite
6.2 km 2 hours Apart from a brief climb over a small peninsula, the trail follows the shoreline as it meanders northeast.
Waiharuru Hut and Campsite
2.1 km 1.5 hours Climbing fairly steeply, the trail crosses the neck of the Puketukutuku Peninsula, touching the edge of the Kiwi Reserve area. Descending the other side of the peninsula, the trail arrives at the Tapuaenui Campsite, back on the lake shore.
Tapuaenui Campsite
3.2 km 1 hour Again following the shore, the trail meanders along, through forest, before arriving at Whanganui Hut.
Whanganui Hut
2.7 km 0.75 hours After a short walk through the forest, the trail arrives at the beach where water taxis pickup and set-down passengers (they use the rocks on the east end of the beach). Sandflies are a problem whilst waiting here.
Water Taxi Stop
1.25 hours
The Department of Conservation provides very conservative estimates on the hiking time from point to point on the track, and experienced hikers may cover quoted distances in half of the recommended time.


As this track is not a circuit, transport is needed between the start and end of the trail. Most trampers use the services of one of the local shuttle bus or shuttle boat operators who can deliver and pick-up trampers at pre-arranged times. The start and end of the trail are both on State Highway 38.

There is a motor camp at Home Bay (Whanganui o parua Inlet), near the Āniwaniwa Visitor Centre.

All the huts/campsites are also accessible by boat, except for Panekire Hut, and there are several boat-ramps along State Highway 38.

Fees and Reservations[edit]

Advance bookings required all year. Fees are NZ$32.00 for huts and NZ$14.00 for campsites.[3] Bookings can be made online or over the phone through the following link [1]


The Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk is located within Te Urewera National Park.[4] The nearest town to the trail is Wairoa, from where there are shuttles on demand to the lake.

Waikaremoana can be approached from two directions. State Highway 38 links Wairoa and the East Coast with the central North Island and passes the lake and the Āniwaniwa Visitor Centre. The highway is unsealed for about 80 kilometres between Murupara and the village of Tuai. There are well-marked side roads to the main boat ramps and Lake Track entrances.

Big Bush Holiday Park (06) 837 3777 runs a variety of transport services around the lake, including a twice weekly service to/from Rotorua and an on demand service to/from Wairoa.

Waikaremoana Guided Tours (06) 837 3729 offers a water taxi and shuttle bus service to either end of the track. This runs on demand in winter and to a timetable in summer.