If you really want to push yourself and take on one of New Zealand’s famous multi-day hikes, while the famous Routeburn and Milford Track are both stunning, I would highly recommend one off the beaten path.
My Co-Host Jordan Sessions and I took on the Greenstone and Caples Tracks, located on the south island. This 38-mile trek took us through some of New Zealand’s most picturesque wilderness. Much of the area is owned by the local tribe of the Ngāi Tahu, while most of the trails are located throughout the Greenstone and Caples Conservation Areas with portions being a part of the Fiordland National Park around Lake McKellar.
This trek is a loop so you can start and end where you park your car, which eliminates the stress of hitching a ride back to the start. This a moderately demanding 4-day round trip hike with some days averaging 6-7 hours of walking. A reasonable degree of fitness is required.Along the hike you are consumed in breathtaking Alice and Wonderland looking beachwood forest and large grassy clearings.
While most of the track is somewhat flat, if you are doing the full loop you will hit the McKeller Saddle, which is nothing short of a few hours of grueling stair master work. The McKellar Saddle, a sub-alpine pass, and the highest point of the Greenstone and Caples Track at 3,100 ft.
Every night we spent the cold evenings in four different “huts” which we called the “Ritz Carlton of huts.” Equipped with running water and a fire place. This was great for new multi-day hikers because you didn’t have to carry/set up a tent. The furnished has also gave us something to look forward to on the longer more challenging days.
If you are heading to the south island of New Zealand and setting sometime aside to take on one of the countries famous hikes, I would advise to look beyond whats popular and scope out the trails that are not tramped on as much, starting with the Greenstone and Caples.
For more information on the Greenstone and Caples Track click here: