Kepler Track, Day 2: Moturau Hut to Iris Burn Campsite

Kepler Track, Day 2

I wake up to a swollen eye and wonder if one of New Zealand’s pesky sand flies chomped on me during the night. Hopefully, it will go away before too long, but I feel a little dread as I have had such bad reactions to bug bites lately. Ughh…

We have a lazy 9 am departure and begin our day back at the beach of Shallow Bay. The skies look a little dark and moody as we set off, and we wonder if we have some rain in store ahead. From the beach, we follow the lakeshore for a bit before ducking back  into the mossy beech forest carpeted in lush green ferns for the 16.2-kilometer relatively flat tramp to the Iris Burn campsite.

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We don’t take nearly as many photos today as the trail is very reminiscent of yesterday. Despite the gloomy start, it actually turns into a bright sunny day today making the forest floor contrasty and difficult to capture properly with the camera.

One highlight is all of the pretty forest birds we see on the trail today, and we do our best to photograph them. Our most exciting sighting is a kea (parrot) foraging on the forest floor, but he is too busy and pre-occupied with finding food to pose for our cameras. We totally understand. Hopefully we will get a chance to see some more of these guys again, because they are pretty darn cute. In the meantime, we will have to be content with the robin and tomtits that flock to us while we are hiking.

We arrive in camp at 4:30, which is on the earlier side for us. We set up our tent and notice that there are loads of sandflies. Hopefully a good dose of bug spray will keep the little buggers at bay.

After an afternoon coffee/tea, we take a short side trip to Iris Burn Falls. It’s an easy 30-minute hike in another fern-filled forest to the waterfall. We hang out there for a while enjoying the pretty scene all to ourselves.

The campsite is busy when we get back with a group of nine hikers as well as other campers. A hearty dinner with a little wine and a couple of Benadryl equals a great night of sleep for these two happy campers!

Day 2 Trail Logistics:

Kepler Track brochure
Source: New Zealand Department of Conservation

Start Point: Moturau Hut
End Point: Iris Burn Campsite
Distance: 16.2 kilometers
Walking Time: 5-7 hours
Elevation Gain/Loss:

Kepler Track brochure
Source: New Zealand Department of Conservation

Side Trips: Iris Burn Waterfall, 40-minute return from Iris Burn Hut/Campground
Date on Trail: 28 December 2016
Best Done: October-April

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