Kepler track was not our original hike that we were wanting to do, but since the routeburn was fully booked we chose instead to do a day walk along the Kepler trail with the intentions of reaching Luxmore hut and turning around.
In order to get to the Kepler trail, you could either walk around Lake Te Anau, adding an extra approx 7 km, or you can take a water taxi to Broad Bay.
We decided that we would take the taxi therefore making the round trip a 16.4 km journey, instead of a 23.4 km hike. The water taxi only departed at two times in the morning and picked up once in the afternoon. So in the end we departed at 8:30am and returned on the taxi at 4:30pm.
The short boat ride over got us there within 7 minutes, so we were able to begin our hike by 8:45am. Not far into the trail our uphill climb began, and so did the de-layering process. The majority of the climb to Luxmore hut was through the forest, it was not until near the top that we finally emerged from the tree line. The terrain changed from lush mossy, overgrown forest to the open arid tundra where the scenery opened up and the mountains lined the horizon. Down below Lake Te Anau seemed to spread out into every valley and crevice.
The view was already breathtaking and we were not even near the top.
Start - 8:45am
Luxmore hut & caves - 11:35 - 11:45pm
Summit - 12:45pm - 1:10pm
Luxmore hut - 2:00pm - 2:05pm
Broad Bay - 3:40pm