Hiking the Kepler Track in October
The Kepler Track is one of New Zealand's Great Walks located in Fiordland National Park. It's a stunning 60-kilometre track that takes hikers through some of New Zealand’s most spectacular natural scenery. Popular for solo travellers and New Zealand hiking tours alike, the track can be accessed year-round but October is a particularly good time to hike this gorgeous track. The hiking season in New Zealand generally runs between October, which is mid-spring, and April, when the weather turns wintery and weather conditions become too unpredictable.
As October is still early in the season it’s a great time to get out and explore New Zealand. The weather is usually mild, the crowds are smaller, the trails quieter, and the beautiful spring wildflowers are in bloom.
In New Zealand most visitors tend to come during peak summer, December to February, to enjoy the most predictable warm weather. However, with this comes large crowds and busy trails. October is generally considered a shoulder season for the Kepler Track, but here at New Zealand Trails it’s one of our favourite times of the year. Crowds are smaller than in the peak summer months and often with a light dusting of snow still lying on the peaks, New Zealand’s natural beauty is at its best.
Though the track is considerably quieter than summer it’s still a popular track, so it's a good idea to book your accommodation well in advance.
Bookings are required for all huts on the Kepler Track. You can book huts online with the Department of Conservation (DOC) but if you have your heart set on experiencing any of our Great Walks you better be quick! With the ever-increasing popularity of New Zealand’s Great Walks huts can fill up quickly, so it's a good idea to book your accommodation at least six months in advance, especially if you're travelling during peak season.
It is possible to camp on the Kepler Track and avoid booking huts altogether but campsites certainly aren’t quite as convenient. From the Kepler Carpark to Brod Bay campsite is 5.6km/3.5 mi, then another 22.8km/14.2 mi to Iris Burn campsite (the only other campsite on the track). From there it’s another 31.7km/19.7 mi back to the carpark so be prepared for some big days of hiking.
The cost of hiking the Kepler Track will vary depending on your budget and how you choose to travel. The main expenses for your Kepler Track journey will be transport, DOC hut fees or campsites, hotel fees if you choose to stay in Te Anau (the closest town to the Kepler Track) before or after your adventure and of course food.
And here’s our estimate for your other expenses:
Kepler Track Weather in October
Though October is Spring here in New Zealand and the weather is beginning to heat up it's important to be prepared for rapid changes in conditions. The average temperature in Fiordland National Park in October is 15°C/59°F but as with any alpine environment, weather on the Kepler Track can change quickly. The minimum temperature is usually around 5°C/41°F, and the maximum temperature is around 25°C/77°F making packing the right gear a key part of the equation to an enjoyable experience.
The average rainfall on the Kepler Track in October is 150 millimetres making a rain jacket absolutely essential. Fiordland National Park experiences 7m of rain and an average of 200 rain days per year meaning you’re highly likely to encounter rain no matter what time of year you visit but with the right gear, it’ll be “no dramas” (Kiwi slang for no problem at all). You’ll also enjoy an average of 10 hours of daylight during October so there will be plenty of time to enjoy the epic scenery.
What to pack for the Kepler Track in October
As you’ve no doubt gathered by now it’s important to be prepared for any weather when exploring anywhere Fiordland National Park. Our Ultimate New Zealand Packing List has everything you need to know to pack for your New Zealand hiking adventure but here are a few basics to get you started.
- 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!
Where to stay
Te Anau is the closest town to the Kepler Track – only a 10-minute drive from either starting point – and a great place to base yourself on either side of your Kepler hiking adventure. 2.5 hours drive from Queenstown, Te Anau is a small town with a variety of great accommodations, restaurants and shops to stock up on supplies.
Other places to explore while in Fiordland
Fiordland National Park is an adventurer's paradise. With endless wilderness at your fingertips, there are a number of other incredible tracks, trails and walks to explore. Not only are there numerous day hikes and short walk options but Fiordland National Park is also home to two other Great Walks (soon to be three) including the Milford Track and Routeburn Track. And of course, no trip to Fiordland would be complete without a journey to the iconic Milford Sound.
So have we convinced you yet? The Kepler Track is a stunning multi-day hike that showcases some of the best scenery Fiordland National Park has to offer. 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, maybe you don’t want to bunk in a hut with strangers or you don’t enjoy lugging a big pack around, you can always jump in with us and enjoy the best of not only the Kepler Track but of New Zealand. Our all-inclusive New Zealand hiking tours allow you to explore the most iconic destinations and enjoy the best activities without the stress of going alone. Let our local Kiwi guides take care of the details so you can sit back, relax and really take in all New Zealand has to offer.