Here I am back on the shores of Lake Manapouri, tuis really making a racket in the kowhais, the fire rampaging in the fireplace despite the lack of acute need, more to kill some stray sandflies.

As it’s worked out, following my two week scoot around the Hollyford Track and the Pyke – Big Bay Route, after a couple of nights in a real bed, and three long showers, Bob has arranged for us to start the Milford Track, leaving Thursday, and as there is little point in hanging around Te Anau, other than to spend money, the obvious way to fill in four days is to re-walk the Kepler, whizzing this time in the opposite direction.


Bob offered to take me to Rainbow Reach, but, always the purist, I would miss out on a 3.5 hour section, I requested getting dropped at the closer Control Gates, the official start and finish to the circuit. No worries at all.

Actually the entire walk today took exactly 3.5 hours and that included the next short section, 16 km in total. Plenty of stops for photos, the light was good. Lake Manapouri was up quite a bit, no cutting around the lake possible.

The Shallow Bay Hut is a good one, an open fireplace, six bunks although not much of an outlook until you go outside. I kinda feel it was just the right amount of walking for today, tomorrow will be more, I’m only bringing food for this trip, and, of course, my brick of a current book, Vincent O’Sullivans biography of John Mulgan, NZ icon. I read his Man Alone book as a kid, not sure how influential it was, will obviously re-read it now as I too seem to spend many solitary hours.

Sandflies abound, so far no other humans, in the hut, there were plenty on the trail. This hut is not exactly on the track itself, but I could clearly hear chopping from the other hut across the water.

I guess I’ll be here by myself tonight, yeah, another night with this man alone.

Day 2 | Iris Burn Hut, Kepler Track, Fiordland National Park →