Parts of the epic Kepler Track could open to bikes! – Update

Andy is meeting with DOC on Thursday to talk about changing the Fiordland national park plan to allow mountain bikes on parts of the Kepler track.  He would like to show DOC how popular the idea is so if you haven't commented already jot down your thoughts in the comments on the post on the QMTBC website saying why this epic backcountry ride should be accessible or email Andy McDonald direct at -------Original news------- We received some fantastic news from Andy Mcdonald the other week. Andy lives in Te Anau where there is currently not much legal singletrack to ride but there are hundreds of km's of prime beech forest walk...including the epic Kelper Track which is a 60km loop from the shores of Lake Te Anau through beech forest and over spectacular alpine passes. Apparently most of the Kepler Track would make a superb ride but some sections across the tops and one stair section would be unridable. Andy has been working with the local DoC and the idea of a new trail connecting the start and finish of the Kepler to make a 30km beech forest singetrack loop was born. DoC are into it, however the only problem is that it is in National Park meaning no mountain bikes.... DoC are keen to get the plan changed but they need to know that the MTB community are behind it to get it moving on a little quicker.  How you can help? Show that you support the opportunity to have real mountain biking in the Fiordland National Park. Either by:
  •  Commenting on this article saying why it would be great
  • Email Andy at with a letter of support
  • Spread the word!
  • All of the above!
 Click here to see the DoC brochure for walking the whole track
Map of proposed trail.
Map of proposed trail. Blue is current track, red is proposed track

37 thoughts on “Parts of the epic Kepler Track could open to bikes! – Update

  1. Love the idea. I did the Heaphy with a bunch of friends last year and it was fantastic. I would do this in a heart beat as would many of my friends. Dual access works well as we came across some walkers on the Heaphy who were quite intrigued and nit bothered by our presence. NZ is becoming such a MTB mecca and this would only add to our international reputation as a world class MTB destination.

  2. This would be a tremendous way of voyaging into Fiordland in a contolled way. Especially as my trampind days are over due to badly worn knees. Biking these tracks would be great.
    Cheers – barry munro.

  3. Hi, I am from Canada and had the pleasure of spending two weeks riding my mountain bike in the Queenstown area in February. It was an amazing experience. I visited Milford sound and was dissapointed to hear that there were no bike trails in this beautiful area. I understand its a national park, but everyone should be able to share in the beauty and facilities of these parks. Here where I live (Calgary) we are an hour from Banff National Park, a beautiful park in the Rocky Mountains. We are not allowed to ride all trails, but slowly we are getting access to a few more each year. We share these trails happily with hikers, horseback riders etc. Its been slow in coming and its a give and take at times, but the parks finally seem to be seeing the growth of cycling, and realizing the minimal impact they have on trails. Most cyclists have a huge respect for the trails and the beauty around them and are excellent trail stewards. I really hope you are able to make this happen as I will definitely be back to do more riding and exploring in your amazing country. Keep up the great work and stay positive.

  4. I would love the opportunity to ride in the national park, I have walked the Kepler a number of times and to ride in the same area would be epic!! Good Luck Andy!

  5. So many walking tracks in beautiful nz , and yet so little Mtb riding access. This is a no brainer , being one of the premier national parks of the world , the interest and attention this will create could have so many benefit . The impact mtn biking creates on the enviroment has really the same level as any walking track , which many bikers believe I’m sure.

  6. Opening up parts of the Kepler to mountain bikes would be fantastic. Other DoC tracks have shown that walkers and cyclists can mix. For Te Anau itself, it could also bring in another type of visitor which could only be good for the long term of the town.

  7. The Kepler proposal would be an excellent idea. I’m sure that many of the people that have travelled to ride the Heaphy track would similary head to the Kepler if it were to be opened to ride. My main feeling is of excitement at the prospect of riding in such an epic area, though I hope that any proposal would keep in mind the impact on the nature in the area.

  8. Hi Tom,
    Sounds interesting. Give us an email at and we can discuss it. I’ve always thought it could be a great boost to places like Garston etc to turn it into a MTB mecca. There is a huge shortage of quality xc riding around here and lots of people wanting to ride.
    Tom QMTBC

  9. Hi there, I have 1000 hectares in the back blocks bordering the nevis road south. (50minute drive south of Queenstown). It is a freehold area of subalpine tussockland, beech forest and rivers.
    In 1979 we decided to [put a covenant on the land to preserve the native flora and flora if DOC agreed to control any wilding pines and maintain the fences. This has worked well for both parties involved. I have recently been talking to a mountain bike track builder who is involved with Trail Solutions (a rotorua company some of you may know)and they believe the area is pretty special with great cross country potential. Based on some of your comments re The Kepler proposal, Do you believe there would be any interest in looking at something on the farm? p.s Good luck with the Kepler proposal Andy.

  10. This is a fantastic idea. MTB has grown so much over the last few years – has now become the MAIN reason to visit areas such as Central Otago, Rotorua, Nelson, Sounds etc. Would be great to add Fiordland to that list.

  11. Absolute gold, the number of people up for a ride continues to multiply and more tracks enable more people to get into it.

  12. Riding the Kepler would be amazing and would also be a huge draw-card for tourism in the area. I have riden the Queen Charlotte and Heaphy tracks and the dual use walker/rider really works well.

  13. Amazing news! Great to see that DoC are finally opening their eyes to other user groups. Te Anau will benefit from bikers being in town who are good guys and gals and will spend money! Glenorchy doc should get onto this too…

  14. Good luck. You have a fantastic slice of the country on your back doorstep and it would make a great addition to riding in the deep south…As far as tracks goes the Kepler is already a motorway – plenty of room for mtbers and walkers to coexist. btw – Nicely worded article above

  15. Good on yer mate, we need more singletrack. mtb riders and walker can co-exist on the same tracks, just have a bell on yer bike.

  16. As one of the riders who lined up on the 1st of May for the Heaphy (with Colin), I think this would be a great idea. The additional visitors would benefit the Te Anau area while not interfering with the trampers on the main track.

  17. Full support this proposal. I was lined up to do the Heaphy on 1 May, and would travel from Wellington to do this ride.

    Good luck Andy and DOC on getting this over the line.

  18. Great news. Really hope this happens. It’s a great way to broaden the scope of recreation in the area, without creating a much greater footprint.

  19. Love the idea of providing more opportunities for MTB in our National Parks. What a great idea! It would be well supported and we’d love to get down there and ride it. Keep the ball rolling Andy 🙂

  20. Billiant idea. Would love to see this happen and can’t wait to ride in this stunning area. Keep up the great work Andy.

  21. Sounds like a great opportunity to give kiwis other options for making the most of what NZ has to offer. More and more walking trails are becoming dual access over seas so out is great to see out happening here.

  22. YES, great work Andy, would be down to ride this in a heartbeat!
    The no MTBs in National Parks needs to be revised to a case by case basis with the diversity of riders now getting into the back blocks of our beautiful country.

  23. DO IT! this is such a stunning part of the country and to have some decent mountain biking would be AMAZING!!!

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