Coromandel Forest Park – Summer 2021-22
The Rangihau is a neglected backcountry track at the head of the Kauaeranga Valley in Coromandel Forest Park. Running north from the popular Pinnacles Hut, the track provides access to several historically significant sites – including the main Kauaeranga Kauri Dam site and work camps. This area was the site of some of the last significant kauri milling in the country, during the mid-1920s, with important relics remaining.
Aorangi Forest Park, Wairarapa – January 2022
Tauanui is one of a handful of huts in the Wairarapa’s Aorangi Range. Located a couple of hours by foot or bike up the Tauanui River from the nearest road end, the 6-bunk hut gets fair amount of use and – unfortunately – abuse. Happily, a group of Backcountry Trust volunteers gave the hut some much-needed attention in January 2022.
Oteake Conservation Park, Canterbury – 15 January 2022
Otematapaio or Pink Hut is situated on the old Otematapaio Station near the head of the Otematapaio Creek on the boundary with Otematata Station and approximately 18 kilometres from the main Omarama to Otematata highway. Otematapaio Station was originally part of Omarama Station, which ran from the Ahuriri River to the Otematapaio River. Many websites name the hut as 'Otematapaio Station Hut', but to the local owners, musterers and fencers, it was always known as the ‘Pink Hut’. The old horse pen had been washed away and fallen into disrepair.
Jollie Valley, Mackenzie Country, Canterbury – November 2021
The Jollie River flows into the Tasman River east of Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park, taking its source from the high peaks spanning the Burnett Mountains and the Gamack Range. Last November, a team of New Zealand Alpine Club volunteers went in to do some work on two of the huts in the valley: Green Point Hut and Jollie Hut. The Backcountry Trust funded transport and materials.
South Westland – 12-19 December 2021
Backcountry Trust board member Geoff Spearpoint has had a long association with the Paringa Valley, and over the last seven years has completed several maintenance trips to Tunnel Creek Hut. It lies near the head of the Paringa River, beneath Mt Zeilian and the impressive Douglas Spur, and provides important shelter for hunters, and trampers heading into the Hooker-Landsborough Wilderness Area.
Tararua Forest Park, Horowhenua – November, December 2021 & March 2022
South Ōhau Hut provides crucial shelter at one of the gateways into Tararua Forest Park: the Ōhau River. With access to Ōtaki Forks now severely restricted, this access is more important than ever.
The 10-bunk South Ōhau Hut was built in 2008 by DOC, as part of its new generation of huts. The comfortable, modern hut has served well, but recent had unfortunately suffered significant vandalism. In December 2022, Manawatū volunteers Jean Garman and Steve Wilman led a team in to do some work, which was funded by the Backcountry Trust.
Eyre Mountains / Taka Rā Haka Conservation Park – 14-16 February 2022
Following on from their excellent work on Mansion Hut, the Permolat Southland team have once again tackled another project in the Eyre Mountains. This time it was the basic two-bunk Irthing Hut, which lies in the headwaters of Irthing Stream, upriver from Mansion Hut.
Gwavas Conservation Area, Hawke’s Bay – December 2021, January 2022
Those familiar with State Highway 50 will know the bony shapes of the Wakarara Range, rugged foothills that protrude from the plains east of the main Ruahine mountains. Surrounded by pine forest blocks, the Gwavas Conservation Area protects what remains of the area’s native bush. Perched near the summit of the area’s highest summit, Poutaki (1020m), and taking its name, is the four-bunk Poutaki Hut. It’s the last of a handful of huts that used to exist in the area. Originally built by Forest Service rangers in 1983, using cobbled together materials from the old Makaroro Base Hut, Poutaki Hut served well for almost 40 years. By 2021, however, it needed significant work.
Tararua Forest Park, Wairarapa – February 2022
Located on a pleasant flat in the mid reaches of the Waingawa River, Mitre Flats Hut serves as shelter for trampers, hunters and anglers alike. Above rises the steep track to Pukeamoamo / Mitre, at 1571 metres highest peak in the Tararua Ranges.
The current Mitre Flats Hut was built in 1988 by the Department of Conservation, in conjunction with the Masterton Tramping Club. It replaced earlier versions built by Wairarapa tramping clubs. At 14 bunks, it’s a reasonably large hut, with plenty of good camping nearby too. The hut is most often reached on the Barra Track, which takes 4-5 hours from the Upper Waingawa Road.