Kaimai-Mamuku Forest Park, Bay of Plenty – February 2021
Situated near Sentinel Rock on the crest of the Kaimai Range, Motutapere Hut has recently had a significant upgrade. The hut, used by hunters and trampers, can be accessed from the Tuahu Track, or from the Mt Eliza Mine Track, both of which link with North South Track.
Waitaha Valley, West Coast – February 2021
Moonbeam Hut is situated in one of the West Coast’s most rugged valleys: the mighty Waitaha.
The Waitaha River drains part of the central Southern Alps, beginning life on the glaciers of such formidable peaks as Mt Evans, before flowing through friendly tussock flats and tumbling down terrific gorges, to finally emerge onto the farmed flats of Westland, and disgorging into the Tasman Sea. Traversing the upper Waitaha has long been a great challenge for trampers and hunters, and in recent years whitewater kayakers have discovered superb paddling.
Other huts in the valley, Ivory Lake and Top Waitaha, have been restored in recent years, and in February 2021 it was the turn of Moonbeam.
Ruahine Forest Park, Hawke’s Bay – February 2021
True to its name, Sunrise Hut faces east, and is renowned for its fine views over sunny Hawke’s Bay – although to be fair, the Ruahine weather doesn’t always play the game. Fortunately, however, the weather gods smiled recently when a BCT team re-painted Sunrise Hut.
The popular hut occupies a pleasant position right on the bushline in Buttercup Hollow. First built in 1983, using an 8-bunk Fraemohs design (similar to Lockwood) it was a pair with Barlow Hut, located in the nearby Makarora River. However, after DOC upgraded the Sunrise Track in the late 1980s, the hut soon got very popular, so in 2005 it was expanded into the 20-bunk structure of today.
Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park, Bay of Plenty - February 2021
Lying near the headwaters of the Hurunui Stream, on the southern Kaimai Range, the 4-bunk Hurunui Hut offers shelter to hunters and trampers alike. Located near the North-South Track, it can also be reached on the Henderson’s Tramline Track or the Ngamuwahine and Leyland O’Brien Tramway Tracks, off SH29.
Arthur’s Pass National Park – December 2020
After the Waimakariri, the Poulter River is the second largest catchment in Arthur’s Pass National Park, with a number of huts located along its length – well into the headwaters. One of these is the A-Frame Worsley Bivouac, located on a river terrace between Trudge and Enchanted Streams.
Ruahine Forest Park, Hawke’s Bay - February 2021
Ruahine Forest Park boasts a number of dog-box style bivouacs – all built by the former New Zealand Forest Service during the deer-culling era. However, Tarn Bivouac can perhaps lay claim to being the most spectacularly situated of all those in the Ruahine Range. Perched on Black Ridge, the diminutive shelter overlooks the Tukituki Valley, with fine views eastwards and – after a short hike to the ridge crest – a stunning vista of the imposing Sawtooth Ridge.
Fiordland National Park – February 2021
Built in 1968, Lake Roe Hut is a classic Fiordland National Park design that has long served trampers and hunters visiting the area. Not much more than a garage, this cost-effective 12-bunk design was, however, a little too lightweight for a location on the Fiordland bushline. Over the decades, repeated snowfalls assaulted the roof. By the late-1990s it had developed quite a sag, and begun to leak.
Toaroha valley, West Coast - February–March 2021
A wit once commented: ‘How can they have a noxious animal problem in the Hokitika – half the bloody watershed is under corrugated iron!’ – a reference to the huge number of huts built in the area by the Forest Service during its deer-culling programme. Even within a catchment that boasts an extraordinary number of huts, the Toaroha Valley has more than its share. No less than eight huts or bivouacs exist in the valley or basins above what is a relatively small river.
One of these is Mullins Hut.
Snowdon Forest, Southland - January 2021
Members of Permolat Southland have been hard at work yet again, this time cutting and marking the track between Boyd Creek and the Upukerora River, using a grant from the BCT.
The Upukerora River drains the Livingstone Mountains, and eventually flows into Lake Te Anau. The track connecting it to Boyd Creek (a tributary of the Eglinton) crosses through lowland forests, clearings and wetlands, including Dunton Swamp. Prior to the Permolat Southland team’s work, the track was poorly marked in places.
Ruataniwha Conservation Park, Canterbury - January 2021
Situated on the edge of a delightful subalpine basin in the headwaters of one of Canterbury’s finest rivers, Brodrick Hut serves as an excellent base for hunters and climbers, or for trampers crossing the nearby pass into the Landsborough. The 6-bunk hut is accessible on tracks in the Hopkins and Huxley Valleys, and can be reached in one long 9-hour day, or a more leisurely two, via Huxley Forks Hut.
A team led by Mike Lagan planned to visit the valley to install a new toilet at Brodrick Hut, as well as a new meat-safe at Huxley Forks Hut. Mike had previous experience building toilets at Growler, Crooked Spur and Stoney Creek huts, as well as others on high country stations, so was ideally qualified for the job.
Mike constructed the toilet in his backyard in August 2019, but delays due to Covid-19 shutdown, injuries and weather frustrated further progress throughout 2020.
Kaimanawa Forest Park February 2021
As one of only four public huts in Kaimanawa Forest Park, Cascade Hut serves a vital function as shelter for trampers and hunters visiting this part of the central North Island. Located at the junction of the Tauranga Taupo and Kaipo Rivers, the 6-bunk hut takes its name from the nearby rapids. It’s reached on a track through bush from Clements Mill Road, which takes 6-8 hours.
The existing Cascade Hut is the second on site, built by DOC in the 1990s to replace an earlier Forest Service one. However, by 2020 the hut was showing its age and needed some serious attention. Fortunately a proposal to the BCT by Mike Main to help with the costs of restoration was successful. Mike, a member of the Sika Foundation and New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association in Taupo, consulted with DOC. The plan was to strip off the hut’s old cladding, roof, deck and verandah, and replace the lot.