The Kepler Track Great Walk is located within a short drive from Te Anau, a small lake-side town connecting Queenstown and Milford Sound on New Zealand’s South island. If you want to discover some of New Zealand’s most stunning beech forests, clear blue lakes and granite peaks, without fighting over photography spots with crowds of tourists – then the Kepler Track is the hike for you!

kepler track swing bridge waiau river

The Kepler Track at a glance:

  • Starts and ends at the Control Gates on Lake Te Anau.
  • 60 kilometres long (37 miles) A to A (loop) track.
  • Typically takes three nights, four days to complete.

What we’ll do:

Control Gates to Brod Bay, or from the Control Gates to Rainbow Reach

Which trips include the Kepler Track day walk?

Pristine New Zealand – 13 days, Auckland to Queenstown.

Where is the Kepler Track?

The Kepler Track begins at the south outlet of Lake Te Anau, where the Waiau River flows through the Control Gates. These Control Gates regulate the flow of water between Lake Te Anau and Lake Manapouri, and the West Arm hydroelectric power station then harnesses that energy for conversion to electrical energy, for distribution all over New Zealand.

The Kepler Track is a loop, which is one of the reasons that it is a popular choice for independent hikers – they don’t need to worry about a transfer from the other end of the track. To find the Kepler Track car park, turn off State Highway 95 onto Golf Course Road, and the south end of the lake, and parking is on the right hand side. You’ll also find a picnic shelter, and public toilets at the trail head.

What’s so special about the Kepler Track?

The Kepler Track is a stunningly beautiful walk, and on a ‘Pristine New Zealand’ trip with us you can expect to walk one of either Control Gates to Brod Bay, or Control Gates to Rainbow Reach. The decision as to which walk is favourable will depend on weather conditions, timings, and ability level of the group. Though rest assured, both of these sections are stunning.

On the section between the Control Gates and Rainbow Reach you’ll immerse yourself immediately, and for most of the 9km (5.6 miles) section, in beech forest. The huge trees stand like sentinels, keeping an eye on one of Fiordland National Park’s most prized activities. With the forest to your right, you’ll walk with the deep green waters of the Waiau River to your left, rarely straying far enough from it to be out of earshot of the gentle rapids. If you pause for a minute or two, you’re likely to find the New Zealand black robin hopping around near your feet, they like to investigate the ground where walkers may have stirred up insects.

The Control Gates to Rainbow Reach section is an opportunity to find your inner calm. We’d recommend walking by yourself for a while, or with a loved one, in silence; listening to the river, the birdsong, and the sound of the spongy trail beneath your feet is surely good for the soul.

The other section we’ll walk, is to Brod Bay, which means embarking on the Kepler Track in an anticlockwise direction. On a hot day this is a great day walk to choose, as you’ll be skirting the shores of Lake Te Anau all the way along the 3km (1.9 miles) section to the Brod Bay Campsite – wherever the lake is accessible is a good place for a swim! Again, you’ll be walking amongst native beech forest, of red, silver, and hard varieties, and again there’s ample opportunity to find calm and quiet along the way. The Brod Bay campsite marks the halfway point, where we might stop to eat lunch, or boil up some water for a coffee or tea! There’s drinking water here to replenish your bottles for the return journey, as well as toilets.

Whichever day walk you choose on the Kepler Track, you can expect thick, mossy forest, an abundance of birdsong, and lots of personal space to reflect and appreciate your life and your loved ones.

For more information about the Kepler Track, and to see how we explore it on our New Zealand Walking Tours simply request a free travel brochure below – or scroll down to see our trips.

Mia Gordon
22:28 22 Jul 18
I went on an 8 day tour with these guys and I thought I had already seen the best of New Zealand. I was wrong! Stunning, absolutely stunning scenery and the nicest guides. Their hospitality and professionalism was unparalleled and we got to see parts of New Zealand I had not seen. I am a Kiwi who was an avid hiker and adventure seeker growing up and in my twenties. I am in my forties now and I got to experience the best of NZ with my daughter which was awesome! Highly recommend New Zealand Walking Tours for anyone who loves being immersed in the most breathtakingly beautiful places on the planet with the nicest people guiding more
jeanne costello
22:31 15 Feb 18
Our New Zealand Walking Tour was absolutely fantastic and our best tour ever. Our guides were extremely knowledgeable and fun and took complete care of us, including making some wonderful picnic lunches and an amazing Christmas dinner. The places we visited were highlights on the South Island and we were able to hike, do a couple of boat tours, visit other interesting sites, and stay in some great places. This tour was the perfect combination of activities and I can't recommend it highly enough. A once in a lifetime adventure!read more
Roxanne Theriault
05:27 02 Nov 17
Amazing company, everything is top notch and they take care of you from start to finish! Always friendly, helpful, personable and professional - what kiwi hospitality is so famous for! You won't regret going on a walking tour with these folks and you'll definitely be planning your next trip, once you're back home! Highly recommend!read more
Miriam Houliston
05:19 02 Nov 17
Paul McDonald
21:13 30 Oct 17
I wanted to find a guiding company based in in New Zealand, with local guides. When I found out that New Zealand Walking Tours is part of the Active Adventures family, I was super confident to go ahead and arrange my trip. Exploring the Abel Tasman National Park by day and Awaroa Lodge by night was a massive highlight! I'll be back for more
Will Appelman
21:07 30 Oct 17
My wife and I are avid hikers, and New Zealand Walking Tours gave us the chance to explore a wide variety of New Zealand’s hiking trails – including amazing sections of the 9 Great Walks, and be rewarded with accommodations that are a step ahead of the competition, delicious locally sourced food and a tipple of New Zealand's finest local wine! But on our free day in Queenstown we met loads of local ‘Kiwis’ who hadn’t even heard of some of the trails we hiked along the way – it actually made us feel like the locals! In the same time it would have taken us to hike the Milford Track from start to finish (like we planned) we hiked an amazing section of the famous track, while also taking a boat cruise on Milford Sound and getting flown by helicopter from Milford Sound to the most incredible and isolated luxury lodge in the Hollyford. We then jet boated out across a lake before a beautiful walk back to civilisation on the Hollyford Track. Before our trip, Fiona worked out exactly the perfect trip to suit what we were looking for, and Lynette was an amazing help getting us ready to depart - making sure we packed everything we need, and not so much of what we didn't need. Highly recommended!read more
Joe Sutheran
20:52 30 Oct 17
I had a great time in New Zealand with my parents, travelling with New Zealand Walking Tours. I know my parents were so happy they found this company, the activity level was spot on for them, and accommodations, food etc was never less than outstanding. I didn't have much to do with the company pre-trip, but I know my parents were extremely impressed with the communications, and preparation advice from the team behind the scenes. What I can say is that when it came to the trip itself, the guides were just a joy to be around, extremely enthusiastic, interested in their guests, and very knowledgeable. Being a bit younger than much of the group, I was a little apprehensive that I might not enjoy it, but I don't know what I was worried about! Spending time getting to know the others on the trip, as well as the guides, was a delight - but what meant the most to me was spending time with my parents without the burden of the 'real world' on any of us, just enjoying the moment and each other's company. Thank you New Zealand Walking Tours for showing us the best of your stunningly beautiful country, and giving all three of us happy memories we'll never more
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kepler track trees trail

Peace and quiet in the forest on the Kepler Track.

kepler track new zealand black robin

Meeting the New Zealand black robin on the Kepler Track.

kepler track waiau river trees

Looking through the trees to the Waiau River from the Kepler Track.

kepler track fern grove

Walking amongst the fern groves on the Kepler Track.

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