Tararua Tramping Club

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Trip Reports 2024-04-29-Milford-Kepler

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Mildford 1

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McKinnon Pass with memorial Photo Peggy Munn
Mildford 2

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Sutherland Falls Photo Peggy Munn
Mildford 3

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Kepler tops Photo Peggy Munn
Mildford 4

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Luxmore Hut and Lake Te Anau
Photo Peggy Munn

This article was first published in the Tararua Tramper Volume 96, no 5, June 2024

Milford and Kepler Tracks

29 April - 12 May 2024

To give us plenty of time to do both tracks post Great Walk season, we took the club van to Te Anau for a two-week stay. Instead of empty huts and the onset of winter conditions we had often overcrowded huts and near-perfect weather. Seventy people crammed into the Milford huts designed for 40. The noise level was overwhelming as people had to shout to be heard.

Apart from being driven early to our bunk rooms for some peace and quiet, walking the Milford Track was a lovely experience. We had fascinating views from McKinnon Pass and enjoyed the magnificence of Sutherland Falls. A 1080 drop was carried out throughout the Clinton Valley and with nine helicopters buzzing around it felt like an invasion was underway. We did not mind a morning of aerial activity as it was important work. A DoC worker told us an interesting story. Way back in the early days of the Milford Track, the non-public huts had a mouse problem in their pantries, so they brought in cats to deal with the mice. The cat extermination programme continues to this day.

A decision by DoC to make Luxmore Hut on the Kepler bookable outside the Great Walks season took us by surprise, as it was not immediately apparent on the Kepler web pages. We were lucky to get us all booked in the day before we were due to start the track. We arrived at Luxmore to a nearly empty hut only to learn that 25 school kids from Lumsden were due and that they would be accompanying us for the entire track. It was another noisy evening and early retirement.

A very cold front with snow was due the following afternoon and we planned to get up early and pass through the tops section before the front arrived. Low cloud whispered its way over ridges and through gaps to stunning effect, giving us glimpses of lake and peak. We enjoyed a day that was far from perfect. Light drizzle caught us as we descended to Iris Burn Hut, but the kids copped the snow and wind and it was a more subdued group of drenched 15-year-olds that arrived and the teachers were grateful to see the fire going. We got to know the kids better that afternoon, enjoyed their company and were impressed by their good manners.

Unfortunately on the straightforward walk down to Moturau Hut, Devon sustained an injury and in the morning could not put any weight on one leg. The ranger helped organise a helicopter to whisk her out and we met up with her and her crutches back in Te Anau. The next day we started the long drive home.

Party members
Peggy Munn (leader and scribe), Leonore Hoke, Chris Munn, Devon Polaschek, Sieny Pollard (Milford only), Janette Roberts, Sue Scott

Page last modified on 2024 Jul 09 23:50

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