|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – November 2012
Score iconic Kiwi scenery without lining up.
A 2,900-foot, 8.6-mile ascent to the 54-bunk Luxmore Hut (BYO food, sleeping bag, and eating gear; gas cookers provided) on day one rewards you with a deck panorama of Lake Te Anau and killer sunrises and sunsets over the mountains. Make the 10-minute side hike from the hut to the closest of approximately 30 Luxmore Caves, filled with stalactites and stalagmites; you can venture into them for about 100 feet. Check the forecast posted early by the hut warden on the morning of day two; target the best weather window (early or late) for the nine-mile alpine crossing to Iris Burn Hut, both to maximize the scenic payoff and because the route is completely exposed to wind and storms. From Luxmore Saddle, make the 200-foot detour up 4,829-foot Mt. Luxmore for the trek’s best viewpoint of the lakes and peaks stretching for miles. Highlight: Beyond Hanging Valley Emergency Shelter on day two, you’ll walk a spectacular 1.2-mile, knife-edge ridge dividing Lake Te Anau from the Iris Burn river valley.
Season Mid-February through March for the best combination of solitude and mild weather
Get there Begin and end at the control gates at the south end of Lake Te Anau.
Cost/info $54 NZ/person/night (under 18 free); reserve a few months in advance for December and January (other times, space is often available two weeks in advance); Great Walk Pass required; doc.govt.nz