When choosing the overnight option for a Kepler Track Te Anau walk, the anti-clockwise route is recommended. For day-walkers, walking either way is fine. We began a 2-hour morning walk from the Lake Te Anau Lake Control Gates to Rainbow Reach, heading south (direction Manapouri).

Kepler Track Pam small

Kepler Track Te Anau walk

The part of the track which runs along the Waiau River, is extremely beautiful. Fewer people walk this way so you’ll get most of the track to yourself. The area is rich with moss that springs back when touched.

Kepler Track Moss

Kepler Track Te Anau walk

The lush native bush is not the only plant life to thrive here. These mushrooms add beautiful pops of colour. Pretty to look at, but not to eat.

Kepler Track mushroom small

Kepler Track Te Anau walk

After half an hour, the track winds it’s way pass the powerful Wairau River. The sun throws fairy lights across its fast-flowing waters, the effects of which are very soothing.

Kepler Track Waiau River

Kepler Track Te Anau walk

According to Ray Willett, a legendary local we met on the way, the birdlife has trebled in the past 2 years. There is now an abundance of fantails, bellbirds, the shy little rifleman and South Island Robins. Recent photos of the rare Blue Duck (whio) sighted near the Iris Burn Hut, is great news for bird lovers!

Kepler track ferns

Kepler Track Te Anau walk

The Wairau River was a feature in the Lord of the Rings movie as the opening aerial shot of The Fellowship of the Ring, showing the forested banks of the Anduin River. How cool to walk in the footsteps of the ‘Hobbits’ from Rainbow Ridge bridge towards Lake Manapouri!

These walks are just a tiny option on what the area offers for hiking options. Heli-Hiking walks up to Mt. Luxmore have become popular, as has floatplane flights to remoter parts of the Lake Te Anau and the Fiordland region.

Southern Lakes Helicopters Mt Luxmore

Kepler Track Te Anau Heli-hike

Those trips open up the region which is so rich in history and pristine natural beauty. And unlike the Milford or Doubtful Sounds, you’ll get a sense of having an entire valley to yourself. How’s that for an enticing option?

Happy travelling

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