Are you going to choose the overnight option to do the Kepler Track Te Anau walk? If you are, then I would recommend that you walk the route going anti-clockwise. Now if like me, you only have a few hours for a day walk, either direction will give you a great walk through nature. So if you are running short of time, why not try this 2-hour option. You can start in the morning from the Lake Te Anau Control Gates. This route will take you to Rainbow Reach. You will be heading south in the direction of Manapouri.
Kepler Track Te Anau walk – Native plant species
There is a very beautiful part of this track, which goes alongside the Waiau River in the Fiordland National Park. And the great thing is, that you will find far fewer people walking in this direction. So that means you will be guaranteed of getting a large part of this walk all to yourself. Now, one amazing attraction you will see along this nature paradise, is the beautiful moss. In fact, this whole area is incredibly rich with most moss growth and stunning walks. It is quite fascinating the way it springs back when you touch it. But do be gentle – the moss here takes many years to grow and get established.
Kepler Track Te Anau walk – the unusual
Interestingly enough, the lush native bush that grows here is not the only plant life to thrive in this area. At certain times of the year, when the conditions are just right, these brightly coloured mushrooms appear and they add such a beautiful pops of colour. But be warned folks – while they may be pretty to look at, they are not to be eaten. This particular mushroom is red, but there is a photographer over on the West Coast who regularly showcases the most beautiful blue mushrooms!
Along the Wairau River
After about half an hour of walking, you will follow the track pass the powerful Wairau River. The sun throws fairy lights across the water which provides a dappled effect. You will probably notice that some walkers lingering around here. The Wairau River flows very fast – the sounds of which are very soothing to the human spirit. In fact, you will find that it has an almost hypnotic effect where you can empty your mind of all your cares for a while. Jet boating tours are available as well.
Kepler Track Forest Restoration
We shall never forget meeting a local legend on this track, Mr Ray Willet. Ray has worked tirelessly for decades to help restore the forest and its birdlife. Ray told us that the birdlife here has actually trebled in the past 2 years! That is fantastic news for conservation. We could quite see many fantails and bellbirds, that make the prettiest song. But what was really so exciting was that we actually got to see the elusive little rifleman, New Zealand’s smallest bird. Recent photos have provided that the rare Blue Duck (whio) has been sighted by overnight trampers near the Iris Burn Hut. What a wonderful story for all those bird lovers out there!
Lord of the Rings connection
What a lot of people don’t know, is that the Wairau River featured in the Lord of the Rings movie. It served in the opening aerial shot of The Fellowship of the Ring, and showed the legendary so called ‘Anduin River’. That is another cool thing about this walk – actually walking in the footsteps of the ‘Hobbits’ from Rainbow Ridge bridge towards Lake Manapouri!
Summary – Kepler Track Te Anau walk
These walks are actually just a tiny option of what you can see and do in this beautiful area. One such amazing experience is to heli-hiking tour up to Mt. Luxmore and walk back to Lake Te Anau for pick-up. You can also take a float plane flights to the remoter parts of the Lake Te Anau and the Fiordland region. Also, the ‘Faith in Fiordland’ boat tour on Lake Te Anau is highly recommended.
Believe me, these trips really 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?
Also, check out some other helpful New Zealand travel planning blogs:
- Autumn – the best time to travel New Zealand
- Travel Hints for a New Zealand vacation
- Best Travel Planning for New Zealand
Happy travelling in the Fiordland region!