New Zealand | Te Anau


te anau, kepler track, day hike, hiking, waiau river, lake manapouriAfter repairing our weather-related not-quite malfunction after freedom camping in Glenorchy, we set off toward Milford Sound, one of the must-see destinations in New Zealand. Unfortunately, nature had other plans in store for us.We stopped to get gas in Te Anau, the last town before the main highway to Milford Sound, and learned that the highway was going to be closed for two to three days due to an impending snow storm. Since our flight out of Christchurch, on the other side of the island, was scheduled to leave in three days, that wasn’t really going to work for us.te anau, kepler track, day hike, hiking, waiau river, lake manapouriI had done the smart thing and called the New Zealand highway weather conditions hotline after waking up to snow in Lake Tekapo, and at the time — two days earlier — all was clear on our planned route. In retrospect, I should have called again — before we made the three-hour drive from Glenorchy to Te Anau.Fortunately, Te Anau is a scenic little town right on the shore of Lake Te Anau. There’s a lot of cafes and restaurants, a couple grocery stores and some nearby day hikes that proved to be a great alternative to getting snowed in and missing our flight or spending another several hours in the campervan en route to another destination.te anau, kepler track, day hike, hiking, waiau river, lake manapouriWe stopped for lunch at the Sandfly Cafe, then consulted our various guidebooks for places to stay and things to do. There are lots of RV parks and campgrounds in Te Anau, but we settled on our favorite chain, Te Anau Top 10 Holiday Park.Just about a 10-minute drive out of town, there’s a place to access the famous Kepler Track hike, a 60-kilometer tramp that is one of the New Zealand Great Walks. While we weren’t anywhere near equipped (or in shape) for a multi-day hike, we were perfectly ready to do the Kepler Track Day Walk, a 10-kilometer out and back easy hike along the final stretch of the Kepler Track.te anau, kepler track, day hike, hiking, waiau river, lake manapouriThe day walk, recommended by our NZ Frenzy guidebook, begins at the Rainbow Reach carpark, crosses over a long suspension bridge over the Waiau River, and follows the trail to the shore of Lake Manapouri. It’s about 5 kilometers one way, and took us a little under two hours, including stops for photos along the way. We encountered a few trekkers on our mini hike, but mostly were able to enjoy the peace and solitude of the woods by ourselves.We also got lucky with the weather, which had been pretty rainy and overcast — soon to turn into snow I guess — since we left Glenorchy. But during our hike, the clouds parted and we even had a little bit of sunshine (at times).te anau, kepler track, day hike, hiking, waiau river, lake manapouriAfter the hike we drove to the holiday park, checked in, showered and got ready for dinner. By this time it was getting pretty cold and very windy, but we made the short walk to an Italian pizzeria and restaurant that was recommended in our Lonely Planet book and on Trip Advisor. It was a nice way to end the evening.Kail and I were bummed that we didn’t get to make it to Milford Sound, but I suppose that leaves something for our next trip to New Zealand. We didn’t get to see the entire west side of the South Island — including the Franz Josef Glacier — so we’ll have to make that a priority when we return.Have you ever done a trek or really long hike?The Details: Kepler Track Day WalkGPS Coordinates: -45.492122, 167.663282Google Map: Easy 10-kilometer out-and-back (about two hours) on mostly wooded trailSee more photos from New Zealand’s South Island.

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

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