As the last adventure of a 3 week trip in New Zealand myself and 6 others hiked the Kelper Track, the stunning 3 day hike in the Fiorland Region. This is how it went:
Day 1- 24km
I was off to great start that morning, tapping my knees with Alex’s brand new pocket knife I nicked my leg. Only a flesh wound, but hilarious after being warned to be careful.
Half an hour into the hike the clip on my waist strap broke. Even beginner hikers know how important using your waist strap is. Luckily this scout was prepared and used back up paracord, unfortunately though my pack was no longer “quick release” for the 3 days.
The day was mostly flat and rainforest, pretty, but long and repetitive. Once we arrived to the campsite 24km later I experienced cooking for 7 on camp stoves, a big difference from cooking for 3. But we managed, thankfully we pre-cooked the pasta at our hotel.
Down in the valley this was the coldest I experienced on the trip, even colder than 2 nights camping at Franz Joseph sounded by snow capped mountains and a glacier.
Day 2 – 34km
Being the only morning person in the group I volunteered to get up at 6:30am and cook breakfast. Again this worked in my favour meaning I didn’t have to wash a single dish for the entire trip. Oates the way I like every morning, with peanut butter, cinnamon and banana. Something I noticed though: these guys are small eaters…
The beginning of the track was tough for the first 2hrs. We climbed 900m elevation over just a few kms, following switchbacks the whole way. Such a punish with a pack, but worth it for the breathtaking view at the top. Poor Jess suffered through the worse day of her chest infection, wheezing up the hill like a trooper, I don’t know how she did it.
By this stage everyone had blisters, mine were fixed by just tightening my laces, but everyone else seemed to be covered in bandaids. This is the stuff that no one ever reports from multi-day hikes, but wow they hurt. I found preventative sports tape on my heels helped, and of course wearing broken in shoes.
We were lucky enough for a clear sunny for our hike along the ridge line. Even now I still keep getting comments on how rare that is.
After a long day we still hadn’t reached our destination, but since it was already 7:30pm we stopped at a hut along the way for dinner. The hour rest to cook and change was well needed and helped us smash out the last 8km to the campsite, descending 900 vertical meters, I’m relieved to say I wasn’t the only one with sore knees by the time we reached our campsite at 10:30pm, right on sunset.
Day 3 10km
After the longest, windiest night I’ve experienced in a tent I got up early again to cook everyone breakfast.
Camping by the lake is gorgeous, until waves start crashing and you’re dreaming the tent is getting washed away. Thankyou mother nature. Thankyou also for the rain as we packed up our tents.
The weather cleared as we hiked our last 10km to the car. Sore and fatigued from the last 2 days this was a struggle, even though it was flat. I think more from impatience, knowing we were so close to finishing, having a hot shower and a cold drink. We were also flying home the next day, so knew we had some driving, tent drying and a lot of re-packing to do.
Once we finished we celebrated at the pie shop and decided that for anyone wanting to do the Kepler Track, we would recommend doing it over the recommended 4 days, rather than the 3 we did it in.