Nelson Lakes National Park – March 2021
Occupying a fine basin on the Travers Range, Cupola Hut is arguably the best situated hut in Nelson Lakes National Park. The hut offers a spectacular view of Mt Hopeless to the north, while a short distance above the hut, the dominant dome of Mt Cupola fills the horizon. The hut is reached on a good track from the Travers Valley, and has bunk space for 8. Mountaineers often use it as a base to climb the surrounding peaks, while trampers most often visit as side-trip from the Travers Valley. Recently, the hut got a makeover in a combined effort by the Ultimate Descents team and DOC, funded by Kaimahi for Nature.
Ruahine Forest Park, Hawke’s Bay – February 2021
In late February, the BCT sent local builder, Joe Eagles, and his team of two into Hinerua Hut. This job was funded using Kaimahi for Nature (KFN), a programme designed to keep people in work on jobs involving our conservation estate and its care.
Matakitaki and D’Urville Valleys, Nelson Lakes National Park
Lees Creek, Upper Wairau River Area
Fyfe Track, Kahurangi National Park
Last year the Backcountry Trust engaged Hiking NZ, whose guides had lost most of their work due to Covid-19 tourism downturn, to undertake several much-needed track maintenance projects in the Nelson conservancy. Funding came from the Government’s Kaimahi for Nature programme.
Upper Wairau River Area, Marlborough – December 2020
Built in the early 1960s as one of the early Nelson versions of the S70 NZFS hut designs, Begley Hut lies in one of the idyllic, rarely visited valleys off the Rainbow Road adjacent to Nelson Lakes National Park.
Upper Wairau River Area, Marlborough – March 2021
Because of it spectacular location on open flats with views of the surrounding Raglan Ranges, a visit to Lees Creek Hut is definitely worth putting on your bucket list. The comfortable 4-bunk hut is reached on a fairy gentle 4-5-hour walk up Lees Creek, a tributary of the upper Wairau River, accessible on the Rainbow Road, off SH63, near St Arnaud.
Kahurangi National Park, December 2020
In 2014, Cyclone Ita badly damaged the western side of the Wangapeka Track, causing significant windfall and slips. At the time there was insufficient funding to fix the track, so it was downgraded to ‘route’ status west of Wangapeka Saddle.
Nelson Lakes National Park, September 2020
Anyone who has visited Bobs Hut usually develops quite an affection for the place, not just because of the spectacular location, but also for the historic nature of the hut. Bobs Hut nestles against beech forest, at the edge of an extensive river flat in the West Matakitaki Valley, while above rise the summits of the Spenser Mountains and Mt Maling. Facing north, Bobs get a considerable amount of sun, adding to its appeal.
Nelson Lakes National Park, August–September 2020
Flanked by the snowy heights of the Spenser Mountains on one side, and the rippling waters of the Matakitaki River on the other, East Matakitaki Hut is one of the most attractive destinations in Nelson Lakes National Park.
Recently, a team led by Tim Marshall of Ultimate Descents did a fabulous job of restoring the ex-Forest Service Hut. Built in 1960–61, the six-bunk S70 hut was in fairly solid condition, but a failed roof underlay was causing problems with condensation. Removing lead nails from the old roof was also a high priority, as lead-poisoning poses a considerable risk for the local kea population.