I had a day to burn before visiting Doubtful Sound so decided to spend the day in Te Anau, as it’s the closest major town to Milford and has a few of NZ’s great walks close by. I decided to walk the first day of the Kepler Track. The weather forecast wasn’t great but I didn’t want to waste the day so I set off looking like a professional tramper, wearing a pair of running shoes, thin running socks, a pair of shorts, my Chelsea shirt and a not very waterproof light jacket.
It took me just under an hour to walk from my hostel to the start of the track, then just over 3 hours to walk to Mt Luxmore Hut. I was pretty chuffed with this time as DOC advertise a 6 hr walk time from the start of the track to the hut. As the weather was crap the view wasn’t great but what I could see was really nice. As I approached the top of the tree line there was a fairly thick layer of snow laying on the track. It turned out that it wasn’t possible to walk much further than I did as the snow was waist deep in places - shame it wasn’t like that on the ski fields! The trip did through in a fairly big surprise, the hut was amazing. I was expecting a few small, damp, grotty huts but instead DOC has built a wooden mansion with around 50 beds. At this time of year it would be fairly cold but in the summer it would be a beautiful stay, probably better than most backpackers.
The walk was much tougher than I had expected but I guess not many idiots walk to the first hut then turn around and come home. After 6 and a half hours of walking in the rain I couldn’t wait for a nice warm shower. I’m glad I made the effort but I’m not sure walking is for me, although I would like to do one multi day hike before leaving NZ.
|Picture from Lake Te Anua looking at the Kepler Range|
|Mt Luxmore Hut|