New Zealand // Central Otago //

Greenstone and Caples tracks

The Greenstone Track (36km; 2–3 days) and Caples Track (27km; 2 days) run roughly parallel to each other. Both are easy, following gently graded, parallel river valleys where the wilderness experience is moderated by grazing cattle from the high-country stations along the Lake Wakatipu shore. The Greenstone occupies the broader, U-shaped valley carved out by one arm of the huge Hollyford Glacier. The Caples runs over the subalpine McKellar Saddle and down the Caples Valley, where the river is bigger and the narrow base of the valley forces the path closer to it.

The Greenstone and Caples can be done as a loop from Greenstone car park, 6km south of Kinloch Lodge, but more commonly people combine the Routeburn Track with either the Greenstone or the Caples: we’ve described both tracks as a follow-up to the Routeburn. In winter, the lower-level Greenstone and Caples tracks also make a less daunting prospect than the Routeburn: the McKellar Saddle is often snow-covered but at least the huts are heated.