In the South
Trampers can look forward to staying in a new $535,000 Mid-Caples hut in the Caples Valley.
The new 24-bed Department of Conservation hut, which, replaces the smaller 12-bunk hut built in 1975, has a large communal area, insulation and summer flush toilets with a sunny front deck.
Department Wakatipu conservation services manager John Roberts said the valley with its mix of grassy river flats and mature beech forest was one of the most pleasant in the district.
Many trampers walk through the Mid-Caples to reach the Upper Caples and then over to the Greenstone Valley
"The Mid-Caples also provides great opportunities for less experienced people to go outdoors. The area is popular with families, fishermen, hunters and school groups, many of who will complete a short return trip from the road-end. Our visitor data shows that more than 3000 people visit the Mid-Caples area per year."
A new hut coincided with upgrades of the McKellar and Greenstone huts in the Greenstone Valley and a re-developed track from the Upper Caples over the McKellar Saddle to McKellar Hut.
"With the improved travel over McKellar Saddle it is no longer necessary for trampers to stay two nights in the Caples Valley when walking the Caples/Greenstone circuit. People tramping the Caples/Greenstone will now overnight at the Mid-Caples, McKellar and Greenstone huts, making the trip a four-day journey. We have therefore decided to close the ageing hut in the Upper Caples to public use. DOC is currently considering the future of the Upper Caples hut, which may include it being managed by a community group."
Hut fees at Mid-Caples remain unchanged, $15 per adult and $7.50 for children.
- The Mirror