February 3 Kepler Track (Day 129)

We woke up to a beautiful view of the mountains, with a dusting of snow overnight!

What a view from our hotel room!

We had enough time to breakfast at the buffet before our pick-up at 9:30am. We picked up a full load of hikers, 12 for this trip, that starts with a helicopter ride up to Luxemore Hut on the Kepler Track! We were driven to the helicopter pad just out of town and Robert volunteered us to ride in the small 4 person copter, us, one guide and the pilot and we took off over Lake Te Anau and up to the Hut!

Flying over the alpine glacially carved lakes.

The Other 10 hikers and one more guide were flown over in two trips on a larger helicopter.

A stop motion panorama of the 2nd copter taking off to return to Te Anau.

From the Hut we all started hiking up towards Mount Luxemore Peak, through the alpine tussock environment. We were glad for the clouds, but it was pretty cold and the dusting of snow was slowly melting.

The views across the long arm of Lake Te Anau to the Murchison Mountains was fantastic!

We reached the turning point, a big rock at the edge of the trail from which you can get a photo of yourself with a view of the Southern Alps in all their snow dusted beauty in the background, a view which was completely obstructed by clouds today! We backtracked down the trail towards the Hut and had another brief encounter with a lone Kea who we observed snatching something from some hikers who were lunching on the trail.

It is highly discouraged to feed the Kea and our guide reprimanded the hikers for allowing the bird to get close to an open container!

We reached the Hut and had another wonderful lunch and a much appreciated hot beverage! After warming up and filling up we started down the trail as the sun finally began burning off the clouds.

We reached tree line and entered the beech forest, thankful for the shade as the sun was high and getting hot!

The 4.5 miles downhill through the lush, moss-enveloped forest with thick fern undergrowth went quickly and we reached Brod Bay on Lake Te Anau. The water taxi was waiting for us and we got a quick photo.

What’s wrong with this picture?

We landed at the dock just a block from our hotel so we said goodbye to our guides and fellow hikers and walked home to celebrate the conclusion of our 3 days, 19.5 miles total, excursions on a few of The Great Walks of NZ!

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