Sometimes you make the right decisions - after plenty of rain on the way from Nelson to Christchurch, and following a rainy day in Christchurch too, I saw the weather forecast was saying Sunday would be sunny in Fiordland. So I booked an all-day bus journey to Te Anau, ready to start the Kepler Track the next day. And it turned out exactly the thing to do... Sunday dawned bright, with the clouds receding over the mountains.
I have to admit, I was actually not expecting so much from the track - inured to the excessive publicity given to the Great Walks - but there were amazing views, above the clouds and with the mountain tops all around. I did the whole walk in two days - the usual suggested itinerary takes four days. It was an easy, super-well-made path - in fact, of all the days I've ever spent hiking which involved more than 1000m ascent, I reckon this must have been the easiest.
I camped at Iris Burn campsite, which was a bit cold and damp - but at which I did hear kiwis. (It's pretty difficult to see these forest-dwelling nocturnal birds in the wild - so hearing them is a good alternative.)
The following day was a straightforward valley walk back to Te Anau. The rain held off, and there were good views over Lake Manapouri.