Hiking the Kepler Track in November
The Kepler Track, located in Fiordland National Park, is one of New Zealand’s ten Great Walks. Opened in 1988 the Kepler Track was purpose-built to showcase the best of Fiordland and unlike all other Great Walks, was not formed from a pre-existing track. It's a stunning 60-kilometre loop track and is open year-round, though we at New Zealand Trails think November is a particularly good time to explore it.
Here in New Zealand, November is the last month of Spring and with it comes mild weather and long hours of daylight. During November the trail is generally less busy than peak summer but booking well in advance is still advised. Spring is a wonderful time to explore New Zealand and enjoy its natural beauty. With the wildflowers in bloom, lambs playing in the fields and the temperatures steadily creeping up it’s a great time to be enjoying the outdoors.
Highlights of the Kepler Track
- The Kepler Track is a loop, starting and finishing at the same point, making it a convenient option for those who don't want to worry about tricky transport logistics.
- The track was designed to showcase the best of Fiordland and its diverse scenery. The track passes through a variety of different landscapes, from towering snow-capped mountains to ancient beech forests and glistening lakes.
- As with all of our Great Walks, the track is extremely well-maintained and easy to follow.
- Though the track is always increasing in popularity with hikers it's still not as crowded as some of the other Great Walks.
Kepler Track Weather in November
No matter what time of year you choose to explore Fiordland and the Kepler Track it’s important to be prepared for a wide range of possible weather conditions. Fiordland National Park receives an average of 7m of rainfall per year and 200 rain days making the odds pretty good that you’ll encounter at least a little rain on your adventure. The average rainfall during November is 125mm but with roughly 11 hours of daylight throughout there will still be plenty of time to enjoy the incredible views even if you do get caught in a passing shower.
Average temperatures in November range between 17°C/63°F and 27°C/80°F during the day with nighttime temperatures regularly dropping into singles figures making warm layers and a good raincoat essential packing items.
Bookings are required for all Huts on the Kepler Track during Great Walks season with dates generally released by the Department of Conservation in early May. Huts tend to book out FAST so if you’re planning to explore the Kepler it’s best to plan your travel well in advance.
For those looking for alternative options, there are several campsites available on the Track. The first of which, located at Brod Bay, is 5.6km from the start of the trail. From there it’s another 22.8km to Iris Burn campsite and then a final 31.7km back to the carpark so be prepared for some long days on your feet.
Depending on how you plan to experience the Kepler Track will impact your budget and may vary depending on how you choose to travel. Your main expenses will be transport. Accommodation and of course food but may also include hotel fees and restaurant meals.
And here’s our best estimate for additional expenses:
What to pack for the Kepler Track in November
As with any alpine environment, it’s important to be prepared for a wide range of possible conditions and rapid changes in temperature. For a comprehensive guide check out our Ultimate New Zealand Packing List but here are a few basics to get you started on your New Zealand hiking adventure.
- Hiking boots - firm and comfortable
- Shirt (wool or polypropylene)
- Socks (wool or polypropylene)
- Quick-dry shorts and T-shirts
- Under layers, top and bottom (wool or polypropylene)
- Mid-layers (wool or polar fleece)
- Waterproof and windproof raincoat and overtrousers
- Personal locator beacon
- LOTS of water!
Day hikes on the Kepler Track
Though the full track takes multiple days to complete taking on this epic journey is certainly not the only way to enjoy the track. With various day hiking options and shorter walks, there’s something for everyone on the Kepler Track.
For those feeling a little more indulgent, a guest favourite on our New Zealand adventure tours is heli-hiking to Luxmore Hut before exploring by foot.
Other places to explore while in Fiordland
To make the most of your Fiordland experience we highly recommend rounding out your trip with a few additional excursions. Not only is Fiordland National Park home to the Kepler Track but also two (soon to be three) other Great Walks - the Routeburn and Milford Tracks. Whether you want to tick off another Great Walk in its entirety or sample the highlights on a day walk both tracks offer exceptional scenery and several options for hikers of all levels.
For those whose legs may need a little rest after taking on the Kepler Track, there are also some less active options to consider including a day trip and boat cruise through the iconic Milford Sound.
Where to stay
Roughly two and a half hours drive from Queenstown, Te Anau is the closest town to the Kepler Track and gateway to Fiordland National Park. Te Anau is a relatively small town but as a popular tourist destination, there are plenty of options for hotels/motels, restaurants and shops so it's a great place to base yourself for your adventures in Fiordland.
Our top tips for hiking the Kepler Track
- Start your hike early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
- Take your time and enjoy the scenery.
- Be prepared for all weather conditions.
- Bring plenty of water and snacks.
- Be a tidy Kiwi. Leave no trace.
So have we convinced you yet? The Kepler Track is an exceptional tramp (Kiwi slang for multi-day hikes) that showcases some of the best scenery of Fiordland National Park. From rushing rivers and ancient beech forests to towering mountain peaks and wide open alpine tussock grassland the Kepler Track is an unforgettable experience. However, if multi-day hikes aren’t your thing there are still lots of ways to enjoy this incredible place. On our all-inclusive New Zealand hiking and adventure tours we’ll show you not only the best parts of our Great Walks, including the Kepler Track, but the best of New Zealand. With our local Kiwi guides at the helm you can sit back, relax and enjoy the trip of a lifetime.