Danny Yee >> Travelogues >> Otago, Southland, Fiordland (New Zealand)

the Kepler Track - to Luxmore Hut

Saturday 8th February

We were up around 7.30, but Cam showered and washed her hair - it was her last chance for a while - and we just made it to the DOC office by 8.30. While collecting our hut tickets there, we met up with Murielle, a fellow Sydney Uni Bushwalking club member. We hadn't met before but she picked me out because of my volleys (sandshoes favoured by the club). After looking at our packs and comparing weights, Murielle decided she was carrying too much and found a few more things to leave behind.

Camilla + Murielle repacking

climbing through beech forest

a bee feeding (cropped)

We caught the 9.30 shuttle to the control gates, saving ourselves 4km of walking. From there it was an easy five kilometres along the lake to Brod Bay. The track is solidly formed - a veritable highway - and we had great walking weather, with some sun becoming cloudy. From Brod Bay it was a steady climb (750m ascent) up to the treeline, passing limestone bluffs. When we hit the top we stopped to gawk at the views, though given what came later they (and the photos I took) aren't that exciting. As we climbed a little higher and around the mountain to Luxmore Hut, the Murchison Mountains came into view.

Luxmore Hut is comfortable and well laid out - my first Category 1 hut, with gas rings and flush toilets. But what really makes it are the splendid views.

Murchison Mountains and Lake Te Anau from Luxmore Hut

Luxmore Hut

hut warden Peter Jackson describing the flora

a stalagtite in Luxmore Caves
It was windy outside, so we rugged up for the 5pm natural history talk from hut warden Peter Jackson. After that we visited some nearby limestone caves - apparently there is a huge complex here, but we just went in 30 metres or so, where we could still see a glimmer from the entrance.

The hut was full (50 people) so we had to delay dinner - packet pasta - till a stove was free. Murielle had hurt her knee at some point and was taking anti-inflammatories. Camilla and I went out very briefly just before going to sleep, but it was rather windy -- in fact the whole hut was shaking during the night, though it had died down by morning.

Luxmore Hut near dusk

Next: Kepler Track - across the tops
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