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Published: March 11th 2011
Great Walk #2. Kepler was everything that Routeburn wasn’t. The weather finally turned in our favour and it was fantastic. Kepler is one of the few tracks in New Zealand that is planned in a loop, so you don’t have the transport headaches at the start and finish. Despite this, we did cheat a little bit and took a boat at the start which saved us a couple of hours and 6km of trees. We’re so glad that we did because we arrived at the Luxmore Hut with enough time to summit Mt Luxmore while the weather and views were good. The alpine views were absolutely awesome and we finally felt redeemed after Routeburn. From the top of Luxmore, we could see a storm front blowing towards us so we raced down ahead of it and tried to make it back to the hut. The snow caught up with us half way down, but it was actually kind of fun being in snow again and the storm only lasted for about 30 minutes or so before the sun came out again. There aren’t many campsites on the Kepler track so we got our first Great Walk hut experience at Luxmore. Luxmore
hut is the highest of the great walk huts at over 1000m elevation which gives it a beautiful setting. The level of service is excellent with flush toilets, gas cookers, wood stove, etc, but at the end of the day you are sleeping in a huge dorm room with 50 other hikers. The $50 per person per night hut fee is pretty steep for our budget so we camped the rest of the way.
On day 2 the majority of the 15.5km were spent along alpine ridges with amazing views all around, although the morning was pretty foggy and cloudy so we were really happy that we hiked to the summit of Mt Luxmore the previous afternoon. The steep descent at the end of the day almost finished us and left our knees and ankles sore for several days.
Day 3 was pretty flat hiking through the lush forest, but still 17km to Shallow Bay campsite. We enjoyed our dinner watching the sun go down by the lake.
On the last day we got up early and made a bee line for Rainbow Reach where we caught the 10am shuttle back to town (saved a few kms
at the end too…). Time for a couple rest days.
Tot: 2.487s; Tpl: 0.054s; cc: 42; qc: 152; dbt: 0.0863s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.6mb