I appreciate this forum and all information available! My wife and I are coming to NZ for the first time from the US. We’re trail runners and in good shape. I’m wondering if the following itenary is realistic for those that have been on these tracks: Day 1: fly to Queenstown and pick up tramping supplies. Day 2: drive to Makarora trail head (we have a rental car) and hike to Kerin Forks Hut and overnight there. Day 3: hike to Top Forks Hut and overnight there. Day 4: hike to Siberia Hut and overnight there. Day 5: hike back to Makarora trail head and drive back to Queenstown and overnight there. Day 6: drive to Rainbow Reach carpark near Te Anau and hike to Moturau Hut and overnight there. Day 7: hike to Iris Burn Hut and overnight there. Day 8: hike back to Rainbow Reach and drive back to Queenstown and overnight there. Day 9: fly out of Queenstown. Couple of additional questions: 1) is Top Forks Hut area worth a full day? 2) is there a better 2 night/3 day alternative tramp in the Queenstown area to doing part of the Kepler Track as outlined in days 6-8 above? Thanks so much for the feedback!
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>Day 1: fly to Queenstown and pick up tramping supplies. Day 2: drive to Young River trail head (or Blue Pools if river is too high to cross) and hike to Young Hut and overnight there. Day 3: hike to Siberia Hut and overnight there. Day 4: hike to Top Forks Hut and overnight there. Day 5: explore Top Forks Hut and overnight there again. Day 6: hike to Kerin Forks Hut and overnight there. Day 7: hike to trailhead/car and do some driving to see some NZ sights. Day 8: Undecided? Day 9: fly out of Queenstown. Are you planning on visiting Crucible Lake on Day 3 or 4? You should, its a highlight of that part of the circuit. You can cross Gillespie Pass, reach Crucible lake, and reach Siberia Hut all in one day... takes about 10-11 hours, however, you will be one of the last people to reach Siberia hut for the night and unless you have a tent there might not be any room for you. I've seen that hut with all the bunks gone and folks on the dining room floor, on the deck outside, and in the wood shed. You could include it on day 4, but its going to make that day about 10-11 hours in order to get up to Top Forks. Your Day 6 is is only 4 hours, unless you plan on taking it easy. Having a tent would let you head further down the valley to camp so that your day 7 is shorter. Be careful crossing the Makarora river on Day 7. Look for braids in the river and dont be afraid to turn back. If its been raining don't try it at all, flag down a jet boat.
I'd change your day 4 to spend the day checking out Crucible Lake and overnight at Siberia hut again or walk down to Kerin Forks hut for that night. Then to pick up the extra day your day 8 I'd jetboat back to Makarora from Kerin Forks and then you'd walk to the Young trailhead to retrieve your car.You'd then have time on day 8 to cruise into say Wanaka for the night. Another thought,if you want the security of a car park in Makarora,do the tramp in reverse (ie: clockwise) as Wilkin jetboats let you use their carpark (well its a paddock) over the road by the helicopter site. Or helicopter into Siberia or Jumboland to save some real time and enjoy the views? Mind you I'm not paying....
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