Lake Te Anau and the Kepler Track

19 02 2013

IMG_3423 The next day broke sunny with a little chill in the air. We wanted to get out into it, hike, breathe, check out the sights. Get our bodies moving. Our hotel manager suggested the Kepler Track because it is so close to town.

We were only planning on a three hour hike. That seemed to fit the bill. The Kepler Track is one of the many Great Walks of New Zealand. Most famous of these is the Milford Track. Also in the area is the Routeburn Track.

New Zealand’s “Great Walks” is a developed hiking and camping trail system designed so that the thousands of “trampers,” as they call them, can hike and spend the night on the trail with minimal impact on the environment. This means that many trails are much more maintained and developed that we might be accustomed to in America. And most times hikers or kayakers are required to either camp in designated campgrounds, or spend the night in a “trail hut.” These huts are reservation-based, and contain kitchen facilities. This means your “wildIMG_3425erness experience” will likely include nights shared with gregarious trampers from the world over. It’s just part of the Kiwi experience. The Great Walks, and lesser tracks, are found all over New Zealand and explore everything from glaciated mountains, lush semi tropical forests to warm coastal bays and inlets.

Want to see what this is all about: Get ready and watch this video!

See the Kepler Track in action!

 

IMG_0131The Kepler Track begins on Lake Te Anau, following a forested path near the water. Birds like the Tui or Bellbird call all during the hike cicadas also hum.

To hear the bell bird, listen to this video:

Another call is the Tui, in this video:

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All along the trail there are southern beeches, and the unique black tree ferns. These tree ferns grow upwards of 25 feet and can also be found in Tasmania. They’re really cool!

When you go for a multi-day hike on New Zealand’s Great Walks system you are engaging in what Kiwis call tramping. Tramping in New Zealand is not the sort of slutty activity we might think of in The States. Rather, tramping is something of a combination of “trekking” and “camping.” You can stay in either designated campsites or huts. Huts have bunks, mattresses, heating, toilets, and cold running water. Even the campsites have toilets, sinks and a water supply. These are not first come-first-served-you need to book a space in advance! Fancy, glossy brochures on these famous hikes are available for free at information centers throughout New Zealand.

We did not make it above the forest on the Kepler Track. That will be another trip! Still a lovely day we had. Next we head for action packed Wanaka and the west coast of the South Island.