The 86 km Greenstone and Caples Track lies within the Greenstone and Caples Conservation Areas in the Otago region of the South Island of New Zealand.
Beech forests, sub-alpine mountain passes, waterfalls and grassland awaits on this beautiful long-distance tramping route.
Rated as medium, this is a fairly easy-going trek through the valleys, flanking the mountains and connecting via the McKellar Saddle. Despite this slower paced circuit, trampers should have a reasonable level of fitness to complete this 4-day track.
Find the trailhead at Greenstone car park, 86 km from Queenstown or alternatively start from Howden Hut on the Routeburn Track.
There are three DOC huts along the track and these work on a first come first served basis. The hut facilities are basic and include bunks, non-flush toilets, running water during summer months (it may need treating or boiling) and coal fires for heating. There are no gas stoves so cookers should be carried with you. Trampers should purchase a Backcountry Hut Pass or Backcountry Ticket in advance from a DOC office.
Camping is possible along the route, but trampers must set up 50 metres from the track along the bush edge, however, camping on the McKellar Saddle or on the open valley floors is not permitted as it’s private land.
For the first two days the path largely follows the Greenstone River along the valley, the Ailsa Mountains at your side, enjoy the spectacular waterfalls, refill water bottles and take in the mountainous landscape. Then a gently graded ascent takes trampers up and over the McKellar Saddle via a boardwalk pathway to reach the Caples River, with stunning views of Mount Christina.
Descending gradually, the track takes in a beautiful beech forest for a couple of hours before reaching the last hut, the Mid Caples Hut, with breath-taking views up the Caples valley. The last 9 km of the track heads through the peaceful and scenic Caples Valley.
Any tramping in remote areas requires planning and appropriate equipment, enough food and layers in case of changeable weather conditions. Always check the weather before setting off, as there are exposed sections of track with no shelter in severe weather conditions.
Water taken from streams should be treated or boiled as cattle graze on the grass flats, any other water sources should be safe but if in doubt, treat or boil all water.
Based on our data, the trail is graded as medium. For information on how we grade trails, please click here
. Also, check our latest community posts for trail updates.
This trail can be completed in approx. 4 days. Caution is advised on trail times as this depends on multiple variables. For more info, click here