The walk from Rainbow Reach to Shallow Bay is a but a small part of the Kepler Track, one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks”
Having decided that 60km over three days was little too much, we parked the van at the Rainbow Reach carpark, crossed the swingbridge and turned left and off we set on a 6 km section the track.
The track is gently undulating and wanders through pristine mountain beech forest with some great river views. Apparently some of scenes in the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed near this part of the river.
The forest is very, very pretty and extremely green. the forest floor is covered in ferns and the trees in moss. There are large holes in the ground here and there and we half expected a hobbit to pop out at any time!
Possum traps were set along the way as the possum is a pest and the fur is big businesss all over NZ. The fur (which must be plucked whilst the animal is still warm!) is renowned for its warmth and softness and is mixed with merino wool to make the very best outdoor wear and high end knitwear which is sold all over the country.
On the way we take a diversion to a wetland reserve Amoeboid Mire and stand in silence and watch the wildfowl take off and land on the lake. The silence lasts only until a helicopter flies over head, probably taking someone on a very expensive scenic flight to Mount Cook.
As we reach the lake we are treated to yet again another spectacular view as the sun breaks through the morning mist hanging over the lake. We wander along the shoreline alongside the hundreds of ducks paddling in the lake until we reach the tramping hut at Shallow Bay.
These tramping huts are all along the tramping tracks and can be used, for a small fee, by anyone who wants to walk spend a few days walking the whole length which takes about 3 days. The huts are small and kitted out with bunks, fireplaces and cooking ranges. There is sometimes drinking water available and usually, a long drop toilet. this one even had an axe for chopping wood – very Little Red Riding Hood!. What more could anyone need?
Now for the six kilometre walk back….