Old Ghost Road, Kahurangi National Park, West Coast – March 2022
Located on the popular Old Ghost Road track, Goat Creek Hut oozes history. The small hut lies on a river terrace near the confluence of Goat Creek with the Mōkihinui River South Branch. It was one of a group of huts built in the mid-1950s by staff from the Nelson Conservancy of the New Zealand Forest Service, using materials dropped out of a plane. It was an early experimental hut design for wild animal culling purposes.
Originally intended to be the same size as other NZFS Nelson 4-bunk huts built at the same time, one of the airdrop loads went a little off target, and was never recovered. The solution: build the hut a little smaller and still try to squeeze in four bunks.
Now approaching 70 years old, the hut needed a good restoration. Thanks to funding from the Kaimahi for Nature programme, organised through the Backcountry Trust, a team went in to do work in March 2022. Thanks to their stellar efforts, Goat Creek Hut is looking once again as sharp as a tack. The BCT’s top of the south manager Ollie Clifton reports:
‘Many a great hunting trip or epic adventure has been had from this cute little hut, much of which has been recorded on the internal walls. While the original restoration plan had been to line the hut with modern wall wrap, the BCT building team just couldn't bring themselves to do this! Hence we changed tack mid-project, and decided to leave the hut interior largely as is – for the sake of authenticity.’
‘At some stage in the past a lean-to woodshed was tacked onto the side of the hut, inadvertently restricting light. Away with that, and the team re-roofed the hut including a new chimney cap, put in some guttering and drainage, re-framed a window, re-painted the external cladding, and built a new woodshed a little off to the side. In the spirit of recycling and improvising, the building team found themselves one sheet short of old roofing iron, and so some rather fetching vertical timber slats were added to the rear wall of the new woodshed. Almost the stuff of Home and Garden magazine!’
‘Huge thanks again to the whole team who made this project happen: the Ultimate Descents building team lead by Tim Marshall. DOC staff Brian Thomas and Dave Guppy. Helicopter support from Glenn and Vanessa at Karamea Helicharter. Phil Rossiter and the team at the Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust for help with scoping the work.’