Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tramp #3 Kepler Track in three days - Preview

Tramp number three is the Kepler Track. It is one of the nine Great Walks, which are national heritage sites in NZ. There are thousands of tracks (hiking trails) in NZ, but only nine that are Great Walks. It is comparable to national park land in the USA. To tramp (hike) overnight on these nine tracks you must first get a permit and pay a fee. In the summer months these permits (tickets) are often sold out months in advance. I purchased our tickets for a December tramp in July. Of course, one can get lucky the day of your tramp and buy a ticket that someone did not pickup.

The full Kepler Track is appx 60 kilometers. The track consists of a clearly marked single track loop, starting and ending in the village of Te Anau, located in the Fiordlands of New Zealand. The Fiordlands are the southwestern region, famous for heavy rain forests, and the breeding grounds for endangered kiwi birds.

The track climbs upwards 13 kilometers from lake Te Anau up to the peak of Mt Luxmore (1472 meters), passing through rainforest and limestone bluffs. Once across the peak, the trail becomes narrow and technical, following a razor ridge for appx 15 kilometers, and gaining another 100 meters of elevation through two emergency huts. From there the trail dramatically descends into a lush fern valley.

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Location:Fiord land, New Zealand

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