Distance: 42 km
· Time: 3 days
· Grade: Easy
· Higest point: 700 m
· Island: South
· Location: Aspiring National Park
is either via Glenorchy (46km from Queenstown) or The Divide Shelter (85km
from Te Anau - towards Milford Sounds). Public transport is available from
road - Mid Greenstone Hut: 11 km, 3 hrs
From the car park/picnic area it's about 800 metres to a footbridge that marks
the junction of the Greenstone and Caples Tracks. Cross the footbridge and
follow the track through the beech forest for another 800 metres to the next
bridge. This bridge crosses to the true left of the Greenstone River.
next 3 km's is very east travel through beech forest with the beautiful Greenstone
River never far away. You will pass several deep pools that are ideal for
a mid-summer dip. The track will then open up briefly into what is known as
slip flat. There is a emergency bridge upstream from the creek that needs
to be crossed if it's in flood.
track then re-enters the bush and follows the valley as it makes a big turn
around to the other side of the Ailsa Mountains. After 3 km the track opens
up into the wide open valley and follows the grassy plains for about 3km.
The track then veers away from the Greenstone River and gently climbs for
about 1km to Mid Greenstone Hut (20 bunks).
Greenstone Hut - McKellar Hut: 11 km, 5-6 hrs
The track enters the bush briefly and descends gently to the Greenstone River.
The next 8km or so is mostly following the true left of Greenstone River through
the wide open valley. After 8km the valley narrows and the track re-enters
the bush and skirts around a gentle bend in the river. After 3km a swingbridge
crosses to the true right of the Greenstone River and to McKellar Hut.
Hut - The Divide Car Park: 8km, 4 hrs
After leaving McKellar Hut the track veers away from the Greenstone River
and after 800 metres comes to Lake McKellar, I was fortunate to be accompanied
by a kaka at this point. The track then skirts around the side of the lake
and after 2 km reaches the swampy head of the lake. After 200 metres you will
come to the junction of the Caples Track. The next 1.5km the track gentle
climbs and descends the Greenstone Saddle to the pretty Lake Howden. Following
the side of Lake Howden for 800m the track then comes to Howden Hut (28 bunks).
The last section (part of the Routeburn Track) does a complete u-turn over
a 2km period around Key Summit to the car park at The Divide. There is a side
track about 600m from Howden Hut that leads up to the summit, it is worth
the short detour as the summit offers nice views looking down the Hollyford
Valley and the surrounding area.