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About the Deerstalkers Upper Caples Hut

The Upper Caples Hut was previously a DOC hut but a newer and bigger DOC hut was built lower down in the valley (Now Mid Caples Hut) and the opportunity in 2014 to manage the hut was offered to the Deerstalkers; we have managed and maintained it ever since.

At the same time the track was made wider and easier over the saddle to make the walk more accessible and quicker to and from the McKellar Hut meaning the Caples/ Greenstone loop can be done in 3 nights.

The Upper Caples Hut was built circ.1980 and sleeps 16 people on 4 x platform (Maori style) bunks and is around a 4-5 hour walk from the car park at the Glenorchy end.

Facilities in the Upper Caples Hut

  • Space for 16 people with DOC style foam mattresses 
  • Good sized kitchen bench and 2 large tables and stool type benches.
  • Meat safe
  • Wood store
  • Two drop toilets (away from the building behind the wood store).
  • Wood/Coal stove (installed new late 2023)
  • Gun cabinet (bring your own padlock).
  • Running water inside the hut. (During winter this tap is turned off as the pipe freezes and could burst, however there is ample water in the water tank with an outside tap but until the sun comes up it can freeze on very cold nights so fill up with water before you head to bed.)
  • LED solar powered lighting to reduce the fire risk, so no need for candles
  • USB charging ports 
  • Axe and handsaw, please do not chop firewood on the decking – use the chopping block provided. Absolutely do not chop any live trees.
  • Plates, cups, glasses, knives and forks and cooking utensils – the spoons keep going missing so maybe take one or two.
  • Frying pans, plenty of cooking pots, stock pot sized large, medium and small and a skillet for meat.
  • Two gas cookers (with gas provided in LPG 9kg bottles)  

Cost to stay in the huts

  • FREE if you are a local and active member of the Southern Lakes Branch

  • $10 per person per night for National NZDA members

  • $25 per person per night for non members

PLUS a $50 refundable key deposit.

(Your fees are much appreciated as the money goes into hut maintenance and general supplies for the hut.)

Booking the Huts

1. Check availability on the online calendar. (See below)
Unless pre-arranged, do not presume exclusive use of the hut.

2. Complete the online booking form. You will need to complete this twice if staying at both huts.

3. You will receive an automated booking confirmation in an email - please check your spam folder.
It also sends us an email and we will update the calendar manually. (It may take a day or so for your booking to appear)
Your email includes instructions on where to collect and pay for the keys.

4. Once booked, it is a good idea to download any maps and directions to the hut if you are unfamiliar with the area as there is no cell coverage in the valley.

Once you are Booked

If you are hunting or fishing, it is your responsibility to obtain the correct permits.

We also recommend you check the weather and the 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.

NB. In very heavy rain there are 3 fords to cross in a vehicle to the car park and in really severe weather the road near Kinloch can get washed out.

Key Collection 

Security 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*, and stock a great selection of outdoor gear and dried food if you have forgotten anything. 

The team at 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 in an envelope 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. We have a number of keys cut for this reason.

Let us know in the comments when booking if you need to collect them more than a week out so we can keep track of the keys or you can email it to 

We can arrange to have keys in Te Anau if you are not coming through Queenstown at all but would need to know a week in advance. 

(*The main exceptions to these opening hours are 25th Dec (Christmas Day) and 25th April (Anzac day) when it is best to check by phoning them in advance Ph +64 (03) 442 6393 )

Finding the Upper Caples Hut 

So with a heavy pack, it’s approximately 2.5 to 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 the Steele Creek Track. Look for the hut down in the clearing to your left.

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