NZ2020: Days 10 and 11, Walking the Kepler Track near Te Anau, lots of rain, and a film

February 3rd and 4th, 2020 – Te Anau, New Zealand. After returning from our Doubtful Sound cruise, we were supposed to go to Milford Sound. As described in my earlier post, we were experiencing extreme rain and flooding throughout Fiordland. Many roads were washed out. Our guides improvised some other adventures for us, based near Te Anau.

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Trail sign, locations of our next two hikes circled. The diagram shows how these lakes are interconnected to the huge hydropower scheme that ends up at Doubtful Sound, where we were the previous day.

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Yes, it rains!

February 3, 2020

After lunch, we zipped up our rain gear and set off on a 6 mile hike near the shores of Lake Te Anau on the Kepler Track.  We passed through beautifully green rainforest, and crossed a river that was swollen with runoff. We paused at Brod Bay on Lake Te Anau, our turnaround point, then walked back the way we came.

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Starting off on the Kepler Track in our rain gear.

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A swollen creek entering the lake.

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Brod Bay beach, turnaround point.

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Walking through the rain forest.

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Another view toward Te Anau across the lake.

February 4, 2020

The next morning, with rain still falling, and many surrounding roads still closed, we set off on a different stretch of the Kepler Track, this time along the Rainbow Reach to Moturau Hut, a 7.5 mile hike.

We crossed the Waiau River bridge, above a swollen river.

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Waiau River

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One of the highlights was passing through a wetland near Spirit Lake, with amazingly colorful plantlife and beautiful reflections in the water. On a nicer day I could have spent a lot of time here playing with the lights and reflections with my camera. 

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Wetland side trip

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Spirit Lake, rain.

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We arrived at Moturau Hut, near Lake Manapouri, where we paused long enough to eat lunch. The rain continued to fall during our return hike, again through the lush and green rainforest.

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View from Moturau Hut to Lake Manapouri

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Rainforest trail with possum trap.

 

I took two pictures from the same vantage point, about three hours apart, that show how Waiau River still rising.

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9:20 am

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12:30 pm

Later that afternoon, after we had dried off, we visited a pub in the town of Te Anau, and then went to the Fiordland Cinema, and watched a film called Ata Whenua – Shadowland. The movie was made by some of the Lord of the Rings film makers, and included gorgeous cinematography and ethereal music depicting the beautiful Fiordland landscape that we could not see because of all the rain.

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Serious Jenga at the Redcliff Cafe.

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Another map of our Kepler Track hikes.

Meanwhile, our guides were creating a new agenda for the next day, an impromptu tour of Southland, since all the roads in every other direction were closed by flooding.

 

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