Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Greenstone Caples Track

After Milford Sound we got a ride to the Divide, which is the start of the Greenstone Caples and Routeburn Track. Our plan was to do the Greenstone Caples loop track and then the Routeburn. We had a big bag of food with us, mostly canned tuna, crackers, trail mix, dried fruit, and instant noodles, and also water purification tablets. 

The Greenstone Caples Track took us 4 days.

Our first night camping. We like this track because you are allowed to camp anywhere 50 meters from the trail, which is not allowed on the New Zealand Great Walks, like the Milford Track and the Routeburn.

Our backpacks were heavy the first few days, but we planned it so we did the easiest flattest part of the trail first. As our food started to diminish and our backpacks got lighter, we were ready for the steeper trails.

We each carry half of hte tent, which isn't too bad. James didn't have hiking boots, but he usually walks barefoot anyway, so he got these super lightweight shoes with vibram soles. They worked great except when he stepped in a puddle, then they got wet. Mine didn't! But it was okay because they dry pretty fast.

The hikes were mostly in the valley but to switch from the Greenstone to the Caples you had to hike up and over the saddle

Second night camping

A large part of the Caples track was through this extremely mossy forest. The only way to find the trail was to follow the little orange triangles; it was quite wild in there! By this point I had picked up a walking stick. And we had put our raincovers on our backpacks too because it was drizzling, but the forest provided excellent protection from the wet.

Cool trail!

Finally we made it to the start of the Routeburn! You can see the hut in the bottom righthand corner of the above picture. 

That night we had planned on camping next to the hut, but it was pouring rain and there were snow warnings. So we were warming ourselves and drying our wet clothes by the fire in the cozy hut when the warden approached us and asked us if we wanted to upgrade to sleep insinde. I said yes until he told us the price: $50 per person! And that was just to sleep inside on the floor of the kitchen because all of the dormitory beds were full. So we decided to save $100 and sleep in our tent and spend the money on a nice room when we made it back to civilization, which we did.

And it didn't snow that night, but some mice did try to take refuge in between our tent and our rainfly (outside the tent!). Good thing we have nice sleeping bags!


  1. HI pumpkin..It's your mom and dad..we are admiring your spirit and all the beauty you
    are experiencing! Good for you. Keep taking your
    wonderful photos so we can vicariously enjoy those hikes I doubt I will ever do. Love you honey bun.

  2. Hello Amber!

    Today I looked at your recent blog postings (Feb. 7-16) and was amazed. Your pictures are great, the scenery is spectacular, and there are you and James in the middle of a National Geographic-like pictorial with nobody else in sight! Sometimes you are stripped down in the heat; other times you are all bundled up the cold. Mount Aspiring National Park, Routeburn Track,Greenstone Caples Track all look wonderful. My favorite picture was you in the mossy forest. Enjoy this adventure of a lifetime! Love from Grandad

  3. great pictures. I was on the routeburn track with kim. fun to re live being there.

  4. Hi and thanks for the pics. some Questions if you're reading still.
    We aim to walk either Caples or Greenstone and the Routeburn 1st April. starting from the Queenstown side. Did you walk the Greenstone Caples loop? If you were to walk one only and then the Routeburn ..... which one and why? also which direction? regards Simon