Upper Caples Hut - About
The Southern Lakes New Zealand Deerstalkers Association (NZDA) are a “non for profit” organisation that manages both the Mid Greenstone hut and the Upper Caples Hut. Although run and maintained by the local NZDA, you do not need to be a member of the club to stay there.
We collect a small fee which goes towards the maintenance and upkeep of the huts which is carried out by volunteers from the club.
Previously a DOC hut until Feb 2014, it was built circ 1980 and was one of the DOC huts available for the summer tramping season in the Caples. A newer and bigger hut was built lower down in the valley (Mid Caples Hut) and the track was made wider and easier over the saddle to make the track more accessible and quicker to and from the McKellar Hut.
As a result of this DOC work, the Southern Lakes Branch of the NZDA were given the opportunity to put in a proposal to look after the hut for private use for the club, NZ hunters and hikers. Your fees are much appreciated as the money goes into hut maintenance and general supplies for the hut.
It’s an old DOC hut so there are:-
Booking the Hut
1. Check availability on the online availability diary, however some members do book last minute so may not be on there when you look. Unless pre-arranged, do not presume exclusive use of the hut.
2. When you have read about the hut and want to book, please complete the online booking form.
3. Completing the booking form will automatically send you a confirmation and send an email to the club secretary who will update the diary. You also receive instructions to confirm where to collect and pay for the keys.
4. Once booked, it is a good idea to download any maps and directions (see below) to the hut if you are unfamiliar with the area.
If you are hunting or fishing, it is your responsibility to obtain the correct permits. We recommend you check weather and track conditions. The Department of Conservation website or local office in Queenstown or Te Anau are the best for track updates as they maintain and monitor these.
You only pay when you collect the keys, so there are no cancellation fees if you decide not to collect them and decide not head in due to unsafe or poor weather conditions.
Keys are kept at a sports shop in central Queenstown “Small Planet in Shotover Street“.
They are open every day: 7 days a week 9am – 6pm. Phone +64 (03) 442 6393 only exception is 25th Dec and 25th April (Anzac day). Please check during Covid-19 level 2 or 3
Small Planet kindly hold the keys and take payment on behalf of the club. You only need to pay when you collect the keys. PLEASE pay in exact cash as there are no EFTPOS or credit card facilities. Ideally bring the $50 key deposit in exact cash too as it is just held until you return the key.
You only need to pay for the nights you stay at the hut however we realize you may need to collect keys in advance while staying in another hut along the way. Let us know when booking so we can keep track of the keys or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need them from Te Anau or from Queenstown airport in advance (if you are helicoptering in)
Planning your trip
Caples - Greenstone Circuit
Starting From Glenorchy End
Queenstown to Car Park
Greenstone Carpark to DOC Greenstone Hut,
DOC Greenstone Hut,
Greenstone Hut to NZDA Mid Greenstone Hut,
NZDA Mid Greenstone Hut
NZDA Mid Greenstone Hut to DOC Mc Keller Hut,
DOC McKellar Hut,
DOC McKeller Hut to NZDA Upper Caples Hut
DOC Mid Caples Hut.
DOC Mid Caples Hut to Greenstone Carpark,
3 night itinerary
Starting From Glenorchy End
Greenstone Carpark to NZDA Upper Caples Hut
NZDA Upper Caples Hut
NZDA Upper Caples to DOC Mc Keller Hut,
DOC McKellar Hut,
DOC McKeller Hut to NZDA Mid Greenstone Hut.
So with a heavy pack, it’s approximately 3 hours to the mid Caples Hut, then another 2 hours to the Upper Caples Hut.
From the Mid Caples Hut the track crosses large grass clearings and after about an hour you will get onto a consistent bush track. While in the bush you will eventually notice you are following along beside a large grass clearing for a couple of kms.
At the end of the clearing the track heads further away (to the left) from the clearing and starts to go uphill. The path is obviously newish – lots of rocks blasted away and not yet completely covered by leaves and moss but it is slowly blending in. About 10 – 15 minutes up this steady hill look for the obvious DOC sign on your left saying “Caples Track”. Directly opposite down to your right below and beyond the trees (about 200m away) you can see the hut in a grass clearing.
If you miss this and walk to the Kay Creek turnoff – you have gone too far
Coming from the McKellar Saddle
You will pass a track on your left that goes to the Fraser and Kay Creek swing bridge, and about 5 mins after this you will come to a DOC Caples Track signpost. From this direction the DOC Caples Track signpost is on your right. In the trees behind it is also a signpost for Steele Creek Track. Look for the hut down in the clearing to your left.