We start our last day on the Kepler Track with breakfast on the beach. We only have a short and easy two hour walk back to the trailhead, so we are in no particular rush to get going this morning.
The light is gorgeous, and we are trying to savor all the joy and satisfaction of being able to camp during winter break. It is the middle of our school year and freezing back at home. We could definitely get used to spending our winters sown in the Southern Hemisphere!
As we sit, the boat ferries begin arriving for the day, carrying backpackers and dayhikers from Te Anau right to our beach to shortcut a few kilometers of flat forest walk. If time is short, this could be a good option, but we tend to be purists on matters like this and prefer to tackle the whole trail whenever possible.
After packing up our tent and backpacks, we start out through the fern-filled forest. Every now and again, the trail cuts close to the shore and gives us some open views of Lake Te Anau.
The birds seem to be a little more quiet today, so we make good progress. We keep our eyes peeled for the kiwi, but we don’t have any luck spotting the nocturnal bird. Guess he didn’t get the message that we were coming through, right? By Day 4 of the Kepler Track, even we have had our fill of fern photos, so we try to get a little more creative with today’s stroll through the fern forest.
Before we even know it, we are back to the Te Anau Control Gates, our car and civilization. The Kepler Track does have a good share of flat forest walking that may not be the most appealing to some, but the high alpine scenery and spectacular ridge walking make this a must-do Kiwi tramp in our books. It’s no wonder that the Kepler Track is quickly becoming one of New Zealand’s most popular Great Walks!
Day 4 Trail Logistics
Start Point: Brod Bay Campsite
End Point: Te Anau Control Gates
Distance: 5.6 kilometers
Walking Time: 1.5-2 hours
Elevation Gain/Loss: negligible
Date on Trail: 30 December 2016
Best Done: October-April