28-11-2019 New Zealand Great Walks, Kepler Track in 2 days, Day2, Iris Burn campsite - Luxmore hut - Brod Bay - Kepler Park, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

text and photos: Xavier

Distance - 28,28km
Height gain - 1307m
Height lost - 1565m
Altitude Max - 1403m
Altitude min - 206m
Effective walk: 7h45m
Degree of difficulty- T1
track: here

video of the day

To the second day, normaly the weather would be better, i woke up at 6 and start hike at 7 a.m. , i started without the poncho but 5 minutes later i was forced to put it on, and i kept it until exit the treeline at about 1100m, that’s the point where the path joins the ridge and becomes interesting, i also started to hear some keas, a good sign, hapilly the rain calmed a bit, sometimes it was windy but nothing serious, 35 minutes after joining the ridge i stopped at the first emergency shelter and i had the pleasure of observing at least a dozen keas, they are fenomenal!!

They were in the zone of the emergency shelter, they are probably always there, funny birds!! I went inside the refuge, ate something and put the 70-300mm to photo the keas.

After this funny moment i kept going, there are some really nice views along the ridge, very beautiful section, i passed the second emergency shelter and next to the Luxmore summit before start the descent to Luxmore hut. I took 4h15m between Iris Burn and Luxmore hut, after that the path enters the forest, it goes down to Brod Bay Camp with some very beautiful sections, once at Brod Bay it continues almost flat with some ups and dows until the Kepler park, finishing the 28kms with 7h45m of effective hike. 

A perfect way to end vacations, after the hike we went eat again another 300gm sirloin New York with a mud cake as dessert, slept again at Henry Creek and the day after we did the trip back to Queenstown, clean our Jucy van and deliver it, followed by another 32 hours trip(26hours in plains) back to Geneva.
Awesome New Zealand

27-11-2019 New Zealand Great Walks, Kepler Track in 2 days, Day1, Kepler Park - Moturau Hut - Iris Burn campsite, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

text and photos: Xavier

Distance - 33,19km
Height gain - 600m
Height lost - 340m
Altitude Max - 493m
Altitude min - 197m
Effective walk: 7h40m
Degree of difficulty- T1
track: here

video of the day

the day before starting the Kepler track we did the 3 hour car trip back to Te Anau, once there we went to the visitors centre to book one night at the Iris Burn hut because we only had two more days of vacations, so if we wanted to the Kepler track we would have to do 60kms in two days, for that the option of sleeping in the hut would be lighter but it was already full booked.

Then we checked the weather and the forecast was horrible, about 80mm of rain to the day after, means heavy rain all day, so the idea was to make 32km in the forest on the first day and leave the other 28km for the last day because it has a long section along an exposed(to wind) section and the weather forecast was more positive.

So, we booked a place in the campsite for two people, 40NZD per person, after that we went to buy some food, just in case of not beeing able to cook with the food due to weather conditions, the nearest place from the Kepler park(starting point) to sleep is the Kiwi holiday park which offers splendid conditions for only 20NZD per person

To finish we had dinner at Moose restaurant in front of the lake, we ate a 300gr New York sirloin Surf n Turf each, and as a dessert we ate a mud chocolate cake, everything was awesome, really good, we paid 120NZD. We were ready to do 60km in 2 days with the backpack.


Had breakfast at 5h30m, at 6h45m we were ready to start the hike, it was the first time that we will start a backpacking tour with such a crappy weather, it was raining a lot and we knew that was gone be like that all day, we started clockwise direction, the first 9/10km are flat so it’s possible to do 5km per hour without running, once at the rainbow parking entry point my wife decided to abandon, so i continued alone, there are some beautiful sections in the forest but it rained all the time, like a lot! After the rainbow parking until the moturau hut the path continues flat, after this point there are some ups and downs, with 24km of hike i stopped 10 minutes at the Rocky emergency shelter, time to finally take out the poncho, eat and drink something, the path was a complete river in some sections and it was scaring look at the main river, so for the last 8 km i had my boots completely soaked, there was no other option, with 7h40m of hike i reached the campsite of the Iris Burn hut for a total of 33km, it was about 16h30m.

I had soaked feet and i was a bit wet due to sweating, but my bag was completely dry, those ponchos of sea to summit they really work. There was no one at the campsite, weird because the day before there was 29 places booked for the campsite. I forgot sandals so i went to the refuge to ask if they could borrow me something but they don’t have, i had dry socks but the boots were terribly wet. 

Normally there are few free spaces in the hut, you just need to pay 100NZD plus and you can sleep inside, i thought about it for a few seconds because i didn’t have sandals. 

Back to campsite, 2 minutes from the hut, i started the search for a place for the tent, there is a covered place where the campers can cook, there are 3 pic nic tables and there was a place for my tent also inside, the weather didn’t improve, my tent is waterproof but the fact of not having sandals made me think that camp inside that covered zone it might be a good idea, so i went again to the hut ask if i could pitch the tent there in that covered area, the lady told me yes, and in days like this there is always someone that pitch the tent there she said, again to the campsite i awaited until 17h30/18h, no one came so i decided to pitch the tent there, that way i could walk inside the covered zone only with socks, but the thing was that i had my feet completely soaked and they look really bad after 32km with a backpack in those conditions, so i stayed one hour or more without socks trying to dry my feet, what a stupid decision, the day after i had hundreds of bites of sandflies in my feet, hands and face, don’t do this error, i never saw a huge amount of bugs like that day, they are truly unpleasant, really a f.... nightmare.

The lady from the refuge also told me to put everything inside the tent because kea visits every day the campsite and it might do some damage, so i stayed awake until 21h30m to try to see a kea, without success.

At 22h when i was almost sleeping i heard something outside the tent, there he was doing some inspection, what a funny bird, he bited my tent, hapilly without damage, 5 minutes later it was gone.

it rained all day so my camera stayed inside the backpack all day


Iris Burn hut