The Kepler Track at Lake Te Anau, New Zealand

A classic walk begins -- The true start and finish of the circular, 60-kilometer Kepler Track is near the control locks, which control the flow of the dammed Waiau River into the giant loch of Te Anau.

A tramper can take an aquatic shortcut that trims the 1.5-hour walk along the lake from the locks (or 2.25 hours all the way from the town of Te Anau), by taking a ride in a water taxi across the lake (above). The convenient crossing, between the town's lakefront and the sandy beach of Brod Bay, is well worth the $20 NZD for both the day hikers and those completing the entire track.

From the beach, the tramper enters a dense beech forest, and immediately negotiates the many ascending zigzags (we Americans call them switchbacks) that will take her above the bush line.

These photos were taken with a Nikon CoolPix 5200, set at 7.5mm.

New Zealand 2004

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