Established 1937

 

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

Facilities

It’s an old DOC hut so there are:-

  • Bunks for 16 people with mattresses and some pillows.
  • 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
  • Coal in shed
  • 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 the hut to reduce the fire risk, so no need for candles.
  • Axe and 2 saws, please do not chop firewood on the decking – use the chopping block provided.
  • 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 (2 burners on each) with grills underneath, please remember to turn the gas off when you leave.

Cost

  • FREE if you are a local and active member of the Southern Lakes Branch
  • $10 for National NZDA members
  • $25 for non members
  • $50 key deposit.


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 (click here) 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.

Cancellations

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.


Key Collection

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 – 8pm. 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 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 till 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 info@southernlakesnzda.org.nz 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
 Allow 2 hours or book the bus
(Please check road conditions if raining as 3 streams to cross)

Greenstone Carpark to DOC Greenstone Hut,
12km, 3-4hrs

DOC Greenstone Hut,
Can't book. Just turn up.

Greenstone Hut to NZDA Mid Greenstone Hut, 
6km, 1-1.5hrs

NZDA Mid Greenstone Hut
Private. Can book.

NZDA Mid Greenstone Hut to DOC Mc Keller Hut,
12kms, 3.5 - 5 hrs

DOC McKellar Hut,
Can't book. Just turn up. 

DOC McKeller Hut to NZDA Upper Caples Hut  
15 kms, 4 - 5 hrs

NZDA Upper Caples Hut
Private. Can book.

NZDA Upper Caples to DOC Mid Caples Hut 
7kms, 2 hrs

DOC Mid Caples Hut.
Can't book. Just turn up.

DOC Mid Caples Hut to Greenstone Carpark,
9km, 2.5 - 3 hrs

 Car Park to Queenstown
 Allow 2 hours or book the bus

Starting From Glenorchy End

 Queenstown to Car Park
 Allow 2 hours or book the bus
(Please check road conditions if raining as 3 streams to cross)

Greenstone Carpark to DOC Greenstone Hut,
12km, 3-4hrs

DOC Greenstone Hut,
Can't book. Just turn up.

Greenstone Hut to NZDA Mid Greenstone Hut, 
6km, 1-1.5hrs

NZDA Mid Greenstone Hut
Private. Can book.

NZDA Mid Greenstone Hut to DOC Mc Keller Hut,
12kms, 3.5 - 5 hrs

DOC McKellar Hut,
Can't book. Just turn up. 

DOC McKeller Hut to NZDA Upper Caples Hut  
15 kms, 4 - 5 hrs

NZDA Upper Caples Hut
Private. Can book.

NZDA Upper Caples to DOC Mid Caples Hut 
7kms, 2 hrs

DOC Mid Caples Hut.
Can't book. Just turn up.

DOC Mid Caples Hut to Greenstone Carpark,
9km, 2.5 - 3 hrs

 Car Park to Queenstown
 Allow 2 hours or book the bus


3 night itinerary

Starting From Glenorchy End

Greenstone Carpark to NZDA Upper Caples Hut
16km, 4.5-5hrs

NZDA Upper Caples Hut
Private. Can book.

NZDA Upper Caples to DOC Mc Keller Hut,
15kms, 4 - 5 hrs

DOC McKellar Hut,
Can't book. Just turn up. 

DOC McKeller Hut to NZDA Mid Greenstone Hut.
12 kms, 3.5 - 5 hrs

NZDA Mid Greenstone Hut
Private. Can book.

NZDA Mid Greenstone Hut to Car park 
18km, 4-5.5hrs

Finding The 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.

The track crosses large areas of grass with the sun setting right in your eyes and crosses small patches on forest each about 10 mins each, when you finally get into the trees for a longer period it’s about a 50 min walk to the turnoff. The path is obviously newish – lots of rocks blasted away and not yet covered by moss. Look for the DOC sign saying “Caples Track” which is on the left of this new path. The hut is to your right below beyond the trees and can be seen if you look hard. Look for a stone lined junction in the path on the right and that leads you down through the trees to a clearing where the hut is.

If you miss this and walk to the Kay Creek turnoff – you have gone too far

Coming from the McKellar Saddle

You will pass the junction to Fraser and Kay Creek that has a swing bridge at the start of that track, about 5-10 mins after this you will come to a Caples Track signpost. From this direction the DOC signpost is on your right. In the trees behind it is also a signpost for Steele Creek Track. Look for the stone lined junction on the left (look behind you) and the hut is down in the clearing to your left.


NZDA  SOUTHERN LAKES BRANCH

Address: PO Box 1648, Queenstown, 9348

+64  021 942 328, info@southernlakesnzda.org.nz

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