Ahaura Valley, West Coast – January 2022
Cone Creek Hut is one of those gems, infrequently visited, but well worth the effort – even more so right now, after generous ‘Kaimahi for Nature’ funding enabled a cracker team to restore the hut.
The six-bunk hut is located in the headwaters of the West Coast’s Haupiri River, a tributary of the Ahaura. Andrew Buglass, founder of Permolat, rates the area highly, and recently did some track trimming in Cone Creek. He says: ‘The circuit over Brian O'Lyn, Lake Morgan and down Cone Creek is a beautiful, much overlooked little gem of a trip. Highly underrated relatively easy tops travel.’
But back to Cone Creek Hut. Originally built in 1965 by the New Zealand Forest Service, the S70 hut needed a significant amount of work. The BCT’s South Island project coordinator Ollie Clifton pulled together the team, which included Al Ritchie, Andrew Riley, Pete Sinclair and Pete Braggins. All five went in to the Haupiri to renovate the hut in January.
The main job was replacing 15 existing piles with a more solid brace pile system. This required some challenging work with the breaker.
The team also replaced the louvre windows, built a new woodshed, re-roofed the hut in coloursteel, replaced the open fire insert, painted the hut and gave the toilet a good spruce-up too.
Many thanks to the Gloriavale Community for their help at the road end and for kindly donating sausies and bacon for the hungry crew. Once again, Anderson Helicopters provided efficient, trouble-free transport to a tricky landing site. Many thanks are also due to DOC’s David Deck at Greymouth and Miquel at Hokitika, and their staff for their help in getting the project organised.
Those wanting to visit Cone Creek Hut can consult the excellent route notes provided by Andrew Buglass at www.remotehuts.co.nz.