Caples & Routeburn Track
The Caples and Routeburn addition is logistically easy to add on, since the TA walks right past the turn off for the Caples Track. The Caples Track then connects through to the Routeburn Track. The Routeburn is also one of New Zealand’s Great Walks and the huts or campsites will need to be reserved ahead of time. This side trip addition cuts off just before you head towards Greenstone Station where the notes suggest that you hitch a ride around to Queenstown.
About the Route.
The Caples and Routeburn Tracks add about 60km onto the TA. Your backcountry hut pass will work in the huts on the Caples Track, but not in the huts/campsites on the Routeburn Track. You will need to make sure to reserve places to stay ahead of time. The Routeburn Track is a very popular Great Walk and, similar to the Kepler Track, there were many crowds and independent guiding huts along the way.
It is also possible to connect the Caples Track and Routeburn Track Alternate with the Rees-Dart Track & Cascade Saddle Alternate. Have a look at our Rees-Dart & Cascade Saddle Alternate.
Things to Consider.
If you are going to add the Caples and Routeburn Track side trips you will have to take that into account when resupplying out of Te Anau (if you are walking Northbound) or Queenstown (if you are walking Southbound). Similar to the Kepler Track - Check the DOC reservation website early!
How We Did It.
We decided that we really wanted to see the Routeburn Track -- we had heard it was especially beautiful. We had a short day from near the Greenstone Hut up to the Mid Caples Hut. At the Mid Caples Hut we waited out a pretty insane rainstorm. The next day we woke up and walked 50 kilometers through the rest of the Caples Track and the Routeburn Track in a rainstorm. We did this big day to avoid reserving an expensive hut or campsite along the way. This may or may not be a good fit for everyone -- make sure to use good judgement in your own trip plan.