Kepler Track huts, campsites and shelters
There might be only three official Great Walk huts on the Kepler, Luxmore, Iris Burn and Moturau, and two official campsites, Brod Bay and Iris Burn, but there are a number of other structures that are also documented here.
The Great Walk huts are generally comfortable with reasonable amenity, although they do have a winter season where the water to the inside taps is turned off, pipes are drained to avoid damage from freezing, instead you have to go to an outside tank. Any flushing toilets are also locked, you have to use a long drop.
Note that camping is only permitted at the official two campsites although it is okay to camp for free a minimum of 500 m from the track. The problem with this 500 metre limit is that there are few locations where it is physically possible to whack up your tent, the country is either covered in tussock, not easy to sleep on those massive lumps, or on a considerable slope.
It is permitted to camp down at the free campsite at Shallow Bay on Lake Manapouri and it even has a long drop toilet not so far away.
The Brod Bay campsite is down by Lake Te Anau in some attractive red beech forest, where moss is a major understory feature of the botany.
The Control Gates shelter is the official start, and completion point, for the Kepler Track.
Forest Burn Shelter might be a windowless box but it may give some respite from the weather.
Hanging Valley Shelter is just at about the highest point on the Kepler and immediately prior to the steep drop down to Iris Burn.
Iris Burn campsite has level and sheltered camping sites with a handy kitchen structure, fireplace, picnic tables and a water tank.
Iris Burn Hut is not quite as dramatic a setting as Luxmore, with those bigtime views, but a pleasant enough spot to be resting those feet.
Luxmore Hut is one of the most popular huts around due to its proximity to Lake Te Anau township and there’s a lot of talk about the view.
Moturau Hut is located just up from the shoreline of Lake Manapouri where there are outstanding views, and with some great expanses of mature red beech forest in the vicinity.
Not much amenity at Rainbow Reach Shelter, no bunks, etc, just a simple shelter with a toilet, but on the positive side it is shelter.
Kinda handy for a lunch stop for those not intent on departing the Kepler as rapidly as possible.
How about a campsite right on the shores of Lake Manapouri, in amongst some big red beech forest, complete with a priceless view? Think Shallow Bay campsite.
Shallow Bay Hut is a typical NZFS old-style hut from back in the day, complete with open fireplace. Don’t burn it down.