The Greenstone and Caples Valleys are linked by the McKellar Saddle to create a 59-kilometre loop track that can be walked in four or five days. With easy gradients and excellent scenery, both the Greenstone and Caples tracks make an ideal introduction to multi-day tramping.
The Greenstone Valley showcases tussock flats along a world-renowned fly fishing river and beech forests. The Caples Valley is narrower with more beech forest with another shinning river carving through the valley. This walk is located in the Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand Heritage Site and is a hidden gem of local tramping. We are privileged to be able to walk across this private farmland, along the routes previously taken by the Maori.
Either track can also be walked as a one-way track starting or finishing either at the Divide (West) or the Greenstone Car Park (East). They can also be combined with the Routeburn Track for a one-way tramp.
Info & Track’s Greenstone & Caples transport operates between Queenstown or Glenorchy and the Greenstone Car Park, which is located at the Glenorchy (East) side of the loop. This service can be used in conjunction with our Routeburn Track transport.
Don’t have the right gear? Don’t worry; Info & Track have a range of hiking and tramping essentials available to hire.
Greenstone & Caples Track Essential Information
Time: 4-5 days
Track length: 59km
Distance from Queenstown: 86km (Greenstone Car Park)
Grade: Easy tramping track – well-formed with gradual climbs.
Highlights: Diverse scenery – the Greenstone Valley is wide and open with tussock flats, while the Caples is narrower and more heavily forested. Both valleys have a rich Maori history as the sacred pounamu, or Greenstone was found in these rivers. Both valleys are also popular fishing spots for rainbow and brown trout (licences are required).
All Services require a minimum of 2 passengers to confirm.
Q. Do I need to book the huts or campsites on the Greenstone & Caples?
A. A Backcountry Pass or Backcountry tickets must be purchased in advance from a DOC office or approved outlet.
To camp by any of the four huts, there is a fee of $5 per night for adults and $2.50 per night for children.
Q. What facilities are in the huts/campsites?
A. The DOC huts on the tracks have coal fires for heating only. Trampers need their own cookers as gas stoves are not provided. All huts have mattresses and water (indoor running water in summer, outside tank water in winter). Hut wardens are present from late October until mid-April.
Q. Where can I camp on theGreenstone & Caples Tracks?
Camping is permitted along the bush edge and 50 metres from the track. Camping on McKellar Saddle is not permitted because of the fragile subalpine environment or on the privately-owned Caples and Greenstone valley floors.
Q. How long is the walk between each hut?
A. A detailed breakdown of the walking distances between each hut can be found here. Either track can also be linked with the Routeburn track or they can be walked as a one-way track starting or finishing either at the Divide or the Greenstone Car Park.