Te Anau, Te Anau, Te Anau. In truth, it’s hard to leave you. This place is spectacular. It’s marvelous to be at the gateway into Fiordlands National Park. The town is small and busy, but somehow still feels like a place where kids are growing up. The locals are friendly and feel like they still have some life in them. Other towns as of late have been experiencing some serious burn out. Which, don’t get me wrong, is something I understand all too well and experience myself in my own home of a tourist town.
Yesterday we hiker the Kepler Track. A great walk here in New Zealand. There are 9 of them, and the Te Araroa only coincides with two of them, up in the North Island. One of them is the Whanganui Journey, which was our great paddle adventure. These hikes are world famous for their beauty and accommodations. The huts are pricey, but so great for families and allow backpackers not to carry tents.
There are all kinds of opinions about this system here in New Zealand. Honestly, I think their Department of Conservation is admirable. They have put together these incredible hikes in hopes that is draws tourism, and it really has. Therefor, hopefully other parts of New Zealand stay less traveled and can be enjoyed by the locals.
This trail, the Kepler, was majestic. We turned every corner marveling at the views. Lake Te Anau is vast and stunning and the peaks around it are quite dramatic. Not to mention the waterfalls, which are plentiful and marvelous.
It was a tough hike, in order to do it without a reservation we had to go 50k in one day to get to place we were allowed to stay, and it was worth every step!
We returned to this lovely town at lunch time today and stopped immediately at the visitor center to thank them for recommending a way for us to do this hike. Then we picked up pamphlets for our next adventure off trail, which is Stewart Island. When we finish the Te Araroa, we will be at the ferry terminal to this island, so we figured, what better way to celebrate the end of this journey than with another journey:) It should only take 3-5 days to hike this lovely place, and there is a likelihood of seeing a Kiwi, which has become a dream for us. They are such adorable, gentle, unique creatures. We’ve heard one in the night, which was abrupt and memorable. It kind of sounded like a slot machine. A sort of Ring-ding-ding-ding but which a witch’s cackle to it. Alarming, and confusing when you’re sleeping. Here’s a photo of one that I stole off the internet.
On we walk. Just one week left!