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Hut & Track News

Hut and Track News - March 2019

posted Apr 15, 2019, 5:50 AM by Robert Wopereis   [ updated Apr 15, 2019, 5:51 AM ]

Kahurangi National Park

The Cobb Dam Road re-opened in December after being closed since February 2018 because of damage from ex-tropical cyclone Gita. Slips were cleared and the road is now much improved with extra work carried out widened corners in several places between the power station and the ridge top. Tasman District Council in conjunction with Trustpower and DOC maintain the road.

Abel Tasman National Park

Extremely dry conditions have forced some temporary closures to huts on the Inland Track. The hut closures are Awapoto Hut, Wainui Hut (including access through Wainui Saddle and Birds Clearing), Moa Park Shelter, Castle Rock Hut and Holyoake Clearing Shelter. The Inland Track is closed but Rameka Track, Harwoods Hole Track and Rawhiti Cave Track remain open.


Mt Richmond Forest Park

Due to high fire danger all access to tracks in Mt Richmond Forest Park through forestry land is closed until further notice. The only entry possible is by the Pelorus Track from SH6 at Pelorus Bridge via the Maungatapu Road, or at the southern end of the Alpine Route through the Red Hills near St Arnaud.

Hut and Track News - December 2018

posted Dec 24, 2018, 3:27 AM by Robert Wopereis   [ updated Dec 24, 2018, 3:31 AM ]

Kahurangi National Park

The Cobb Valley Road is expected to be reopened by Christmas 2018 with work still being done replacing washed out culverts. The road was closed after being badly damaged as a result of heavy rain during Cyclone Gita in February.


Helicopter Flat Hut on the Wangapeka Track is to be upgraded by a group headed by Bill Barnett with funding from the Backcountry Trust. The hut will be fully repainted, benches replaced, a new window installed, and piles replaced. 


The removal of the gas cookers at Salisbury Lodge and Balloon Hut is being proposed by DOC because of the high costs, mostly helicopter flying and gas certification expenses. Of the 96 serviced huts in NZ, only 17 have gas supplied. If a serviced hut has more than 3,000 bed nights per year, then gas can be supplied. Neither hut meets this criteria with Salisbury Lodge having 1,500-1,800 bed nights per year and Balloon Hut 700-900 bed nights per year.


The Matiri West Bank Road leading to the Lake Matiri Track is about to upgraded as part of preparations for the Matiri hydro-electric power scheme. The last four kilometres of the 4WD road will be widened and realigned, with four fords being replaced by culverts, improving access for construction machinery and which will then give the public 2WD access up to the Matiri River West Branch. During the three-month project, walking access will remain open to Kahurangi National Park.


Nelson Lakes National Park

A bivvy has been helicoptered in for use as wardens’ quarters at Blue Lake Hut with an adjacent deck installed. Blue Lake will be staffed by a warden permanently over the summer to help improve visitor behaviour at the lake. In addition an area for camping has been created near the hut.

The proposed construction of a cooking shelter at Blue Lake has been cancelled after a survey of campers found they preferred to use the hut’s facilities.


Bobs Hut and the East Matakitaki Hut in the Matakitaki Valley are to be revamped this summer by Rob Brown and Nelson Tramping Club, with funding from the Backcountry Trust.

Bobs Hut was built in 1958 and was one of the very first six bunk SF70 huts built by the Forest Service and was extended to eight bunks in 1987. The East Matakitaki Hut was built in 1960-61 and remains in near original condition and is now managed as a historic building.


The three-wire bridges in the Matakitaki Valley have been restrung and are now five-wire bridges, with an extra wire on each side of the bridge.


The supply of long lengths of slab firewood instead of pre-cut firewood to huts in Nelson Lakes has resulted in major cost savings. Two years ago the cost was $65,000, but last year the cost was only $20,000.


Future work planned for Nelson Lakes this season 2018-2019 include:

Lees Creek Hut - repainting and minor repairs.

Mt Misery Bivvy - a new roof, new ceiling, and a full repaint.

Lakehead Hut - a refit of the interior, a second sink, and a complete repaint.

Hut deep cleaning as a result of gastro and norovirus outbreaks in 2016 and 2017 with increased funding to maintain the cleanliness of huts on the Te Araroa Trail.


Mt Richmond Forest Park

The six bunk Beebys Hut has undergone renovations recently after DOC Nelson Lakes received a donation of $3,000. The work involved the installation of new bunks.


The Dun Mountain Trail is impassable between Four Corners (Cummins Spur) and Third House because of slips. An alternative route follows the fence line of the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary. Remedial work on the slips should be completed by January or February.


More than $145,000 of government funding is going towards the upkeep of the Dun Mountain Trail, one of New Zealand’s Great Rides. The majority will be used to upgrade the section of trail between Coppermine Saddle and Smiths Ford in the Maitai Valley. The remainder is for repairing the slip between Four Corners and Third House.

The Old Ghost Road

The Ghost Lake Hut on the Lyell Range has been extended from twelve bunks to 18 bunks during September 2018. The renovation was driven by the need for more communal space for users but did not increase the footprint of the hut. The old deck was closed in and a new deck was re-orientated to the eastern side of the hut. 

Additionally a new day shelter, named Top Camp Shelter, has been constructed during April 2018, situated on the saddle between Bald Hill and Mt Montgomery.

Over 11,000 people cycled or tramped the Old Ghost Road in 2017, when 5,000 was planned for originally. About two-thirds of people are biking and one-third tramping, with the majority of users New Zealanders, many of them repeat visitors. Internationals make up only 13-14% of users, the bulk of them being from Australia.

Rainbow Ski Area summer open days

The Rainbow ski area is opening its gates for public access during the summer with a road toll of $15 per vehicle per day. The ski area carpark is at an elevation of 1,540m and the ridgeline at 1,760m.

The open days are from 8am to 5pm, in ten day blocks from a Friday to a Sunday:

30 November - 9 December, 11 - 20 January, 22 February - 3 March, 29 March - 7 April, 3 - 12 May.

For information email:

Check for any changes to opening times at:



Marlborough Tramping Club has introduced a Hodder Huts Access Application. From November 2018 all trampers intending to visit the Hodder Huts on the route to Tapuae-o-Uenuku are required to obtain a hut access number by email, then the landowners’ permission by phone. This does not book a bunk in the hut, but enables the club to keep in contact with those who use the huts. The Hodder Huts comprise the six bunk Tararua Hut and the twelve bunk Murray Adrian Hut, a seven hour tramp from the Awatere Valley Road.

Hut fees are $10 per person per night, which can be paid online to the club.

For details visit:


Paparoa Track new opening date

DOC has announced the Paparoa T

rack will now open in September 2019, rather than next April.

The date change is to align the opening with the other alpine Great Walks and the start of the summer walking season. The Paparoa Track will be New Zealand’s tenth Great Walk, and the first Great Walk designed to be used by both mountain bikers and walkers. At 55 kilometres long, it traverses the Paparoa Range between Blackball and Punakaiki.


Sources: DOC Presentation to Waimea Tramping Club,,,,,

Hut and Track News - September 2018

posted Sep 11, 2018, 6:23 PM by Robert Wopereis

Nelson Lakes National Park

D’Urville Hut has undergone major renovations during May and June. The work including the relining of the interior walls and ceiling and the installation of new platform bunks. The hut was built in 1964 and has long been overdue for some work. Situated at the head of Lake Rotoroa, the hut is not only for trampers, but predominantly for hunters keen to take advantage of good hunting opportunities in the D’Urville Valley.


Hopeless Hut is closed until further notice due to avalanche danger.


This winter the park has experienced a much thicker snow cover compared to previous years. Some tracks are covered in thick snow up to two metres deep and the track markers are not visible in places.

Trampers are advised to stay away from high avalanche-prone areas of the park unless they have extensive alpine experience and have the necessary equipment.


The amount of firewood provided to huts in Nelson Lakes this year has been less than half the amount supplied in 2017. Previously ready-cut split firewood was supplied, but now long lengths of slab wood are provided which need sawing to size before use.


New Great Walks

Three walks are under consideration to become part of an expanded Great Walks network. The Te Paki Coastal Track (Northland), Hump Ridge Track (Southland) and Queen Charlotte Track (Marlborough Sounds) will be further considered for development.


DOC will complete more detailed research on the three walks during the next few months, which will include engaging with community groups, iwi, and representatives from the recreation, conservation and tourism sectors, and investigating and comparing the costs of bringing them to Great Walks standard. At least one of the walks will become the new Great Walk, and a final decision will be made in late 2018 and be ready to become part of Great Walks network by the 2021 season.


The 2017 Budget allocated $12.7 million to expand the Great Walks network to help reduce pressure on the current Great Walks, provide economic benefits to regional communities and showcase New Zealand’s full range of outstanding landscapes.


Sources:, Nelson Community Forum

Hut and Track News - June 2018

posted Sep 11, 2018, 6:20 PM by Robert Wopereis

New Paparoa Track

Construction work is well underway on the country’s tenth Great Walk with the plan for the track to be open for Easter 2019. The track crosses the Paparoa Range, through alpine tops, limestone karst landscapes and rainforests, providing breath-taking views across to the Southern Alps and over the Tasman Sea.


Three teams of track builders have been doing the hard yards and have completed just over 18km of track of the 55km total needed to be built. The two new 20-bunk huts have been built and are weather tight but still require an interior fit-out, and three of the four major suspension bridges are complete. The huts are the first to be built in Paparoa National Park and will need bookings in advance, year-round. The track will be DOC's first shared-use, purpose-built Great Walk.


Times and distances for the route from Blackball to Punakaiki are:

Day 1: Smoke-ho carpark to Moonlight Tops Hut: 6-8 hours, 19.9 km

Day 2: Moonlight Tops Hut to Pororari Hut: 5-7 hours, 18.7 km

Day 3:  Pororari Hut to Pororari River carpark: 4-5 hours, 16.4 km

Pike 29 Memorial Track (a side track off the Paparoa Track): 4-5 hours one way, 10.8 km one way


Kahurangi National Park


The North Branch Graham Valley Road to Flora carpark was reopened during April in time for the Easter long weekend. The road was closed due to slips from heavy rain from Cyclone Gita on 20 February 2018.


The Cobb Valley Road is expected to be reopened to vehicles by mid-October after being closed after damage from heavy rain from Cyclone Gita on 20 February 2018. The approach to the lower Cobb Valley Bridge has been replaced and the upper gravel road above the powerhouse has been repaired.

Further work to be done is completing repairs to the damaged lower Cobb Valley Bridge and repairing and resurfacing the lower road. Although the road remains closed to vehicles with a barrier arm at the lower bridge, access is possible on foot or by bicycle at users own risk.


John Reid Hut has undergone an interior and exterior repaint during March carried out by Nelson Tramping Club members with funding from the Backcountry Trust. This was a follow-up from a working bee in January when the hut interior was renovated and a wood burner was installed.


Mt Richmond Forest Park

A small woodshed has been constructed at Mount Fell Hut by Nelson Tramping Club members during May 2018, finishing off the hut relocation and renovation project started in 2016, with funding from the Backcountry Trust.


Sources:, Nelson Tramping Club Newsletter, Nelson TC Facebook

Hut and Track News - March 2018

posted Apr 15, 2018, 3:49 PM by Robert Wopereis

New Waiau Hut

Trampers crossing the Waiau Pass between Nelson Lakes National Park and St James Conservation Area will find the new six-bunk Waiau Hut a welcome sight at the end of their 15km trek.

The new hut replaces the basic two-bunk Caroline Creek Bivvy, cost $155,000 and was paid for by retired Timaru farmer Robert Birks. The donor said he wanted to give something back to the country's world-class Department of Conservation hut network, as well as the Te Araroa Trail initiative.


The standard hut costs $5 per night and was official opened on Saturday 27 January 2018. The hut is located 3km down valley from the existing bivvy, about an extra hour walk from the Waiau Pass. Alternatively the hut can be reached with a 90 minute walk from the end of the 4WD track in the Waiau Valley or a 3½ hour walk over Maling Pass from the Tophouse Road.


Kahurangi National Park

The Cobb Dam Road is closed due to the washout of the approaches of the Lower Cobb Bridge and because of numerous slips on the road itself as a result of Cyclone Gita on 20 February 2018.


The Graham Valley South Branch Road to the Flora carpark is closed because of slips also as a result of Cyclone Gita.


John Reid Hut in the Wangapeka Valley has been renovated by Nelson Tramping Club members during January 2018 with funding from the Outdoor Recreation Consortium. A new wood burner and new chimney have been installed, replacing an open fire. Also a new benchtop was installed and the ceiling lined in the six-bunk hut. Further renovations are planned during March.



Nelson Lakes National Park

DOC Nelson Lakes has experienced significant increases in the cost of supplying firewood to the huts on the Travers-Sabine Circuit in recent years. The increase in visitor numbers has seen the usage of firewood rise dramatically resulting in the need to resupply more frequently.

In an attempt to deal with these rising costs, changes have been made to the supply of firewood to the huts. Rather than traditional split firewood, long lengths of slab wood are being supplied, which is a by-product of the sawmilling industry. This is supplied along with a saw horse, handsaws and information on how to safely cut the slab wood to appropriate lengths. The slab wood is significantly cheaper to purchase and trials have shown that the use of firewood by hut users falls dramatically when supplied in this form.

Associated with this, the wood burning stoves on the circuit have been modified to prevent visitors using them for cooking, which was increasingly being seen in the huts and again increased the amount of firewood used.


Bull Paddock Creek Hut in the Raglan Range has been closed temporarily after failing an engineer’s inspection. It has very little use, and has been looked after by one family (95% of visits are from this family). There is no marked route to the hut, so the impact for trampers is very limited.


Mt Richmond Forest Park

Te Araroa walkers are now being redirected from Red Hills Hut along the Maitland Ridge Track to the Tophouse Road rather than down to the Red Hills carpark. This reduces the distance road walking needed on SH63 to St Arnaud.


Nelson Mountain Bike Club have constructed a new MTB track adjacent to the Beebys Knob 4WD Road.



The two Hodder Huts have undergone maintenance during January 2018 by Marlborough Tramping Club members. The main work was the repair of the tank stand after being damaged during the Kaikoura earthquake in November 2016 which had caused one water tank to lay back onto the hut. In addition the Tararua Hut was repainted internally and the porch was extended on the Murray Adrian Hut to make it more weather-proof. The Hodder Huts are on the route to Tapuae-o-Uenuku in the Inland Kaikoura Range.


Hut and Track News - December 2017

posted Apr 15, 2018, 3:44 PM by Robert Wopereis   [ updated Apr 15, 2018, 3:45 PM ]

Kahurangi National Park

The increased popularity of the Waingaro - Anatoki circuit, has spurred volunteers to upgrade the access to the Kill Devil Track off Uruwhenua Road near Upper Takaka, completing the work in August with funding from the Outdoor Recreation Consortium. Scrub and gorse has been cleared to make parking available for 18 cars, where previously there was only space for about three vehicles. A picnic table has also been installed, the intentions kiosk repainted and a long drop toilet also dug. The access road has been graded and re-gravelled and signage improved. The volunteers were ex-Forest Service ranger Max Polglase and his partner Beverley Johnston (who live near the road end) along with Anne Meyer.


Kings Creek Hut in the Wangapeka Valley has been repainted during March. Two new stainless steel benches have also been installed.


John Reid Hut in the Wangapeka Valley is being renovated by Nelson Tramping Club with funding being sought from the Outdoor Recreation Consortium. The open fire is to be replaced with a new wood burner. Other plans for the 6-bunk hut may include relining the hut and replacing the bunks.


Improvements are planned on the start of the Pearse Valley Track to the Pearse Resurgence and Nettlebed Cave. Recently DOC met with Walking Access NZ and a private landowner to formalise access and plan improvements to the part of the track where it crosses private land.


Abel Tasman National Park

Falls River swingbridge is likely to be replaced or widened within the next 4 or 5 years to give an increase in maximum capacity from 5 to 10 people crossing at a time.


A new track has been cut from Observation Beach up to join the Abel Tasman Coast Track, to provide access for people being dropped off by boat at Watering Cove.


Marahau carpark is being upgraded to improve the toilet systems and about double the number of carparks. A new water supply for the toilets was sourced from across the causeway, 600m away.


Nelson Lakes National Park

Bobs Hut and East Matakitaki Hut in the Upper Matakitaki Valley are to be revamped this summer by Rob Brown and Geoff Spearpoint, with funding from the Outdoor Recreation Consortium. They are the most original Forest Service huts remaining in the park.


D’Urville Hut is to have an internal refit to relieve the crowded and damp interior, replacing the individual bunks with platform bunks. Additional ventilation will also be installed.


Two kilometres of the D’Urville Valley Track has been washed out and will need to be re-routed.


Due to erosion the Cedric Stream swingbridge on the Sabine - Speargrass Track is to be replaced with another bridge 50m upstream.


West Sabine Hut is to have a new water tank, new plumbing and a second sink installed.


A second toilet will be installed at Blue Lake Hut. A campground area will be created near the hut along with a cooking shelter. A hut for a wardens quarters has been flown in next to Blue Lake Hut.


Other cooking shelters are also planned for Lakehead, Hopeless and Upper Travers huts.


The removal of John Tait Hut is planned for 2019 because of avalanche risk. A new replacement 28 or 30 bunk hut will be built 4km further down the Travers Valley at the confluence of Hopeless Creek and the Travers River.


The firewood supply to huts in Nelson Lakes has changed to long lengths of slab wood that need to be cut before use. Previously five to six times more pre-cut firewood was being used. DOC estimates each piece cost $5-6.

The Travers Sabine circuit is likely to move to a booking system from next summer 2018-2019. For a successful booking system on the circuit all the huts should be of equal size of 28-32 bunks. Because Upper Travers has only 24 bunks, an additional bunkroom is planned. A booking system would also affect trampers not doing the full circuit. Lakehead Hut is often used by overnight trampers and Speargrass Hut is well used by school groups.


A new replacement Caroline Creek Hut is scheduled to be built this summer, but is expected to be 6-bunk size not the 10-bunk size originally planned.


The remote 2-bunk Bull Paddock Creek Hut in the Upper Wairau Valley is closed until further notice due to structural defects.


Built in 1968, the rarely visited hut is usually accessed by crossing the Raglan Range from either the Mid Silverstream Hut or the Lost Stream Bivouac.

Mt Richmond Forest Park

There are currently no plans for any new huts or hut extensions in Mt Richmond Forest Park despite a significant increase in use from Te Araroa trampers. Many of the Te Araroa users are camping so checks are being made if there is adequate flat ground next to the huts. More water tanks and toilets may be installed.


Caution is being advised when traversing multiple sections of the Te Araroa Trail between Mid Wairoa and Top Wairoa huts. Five areas are of concern, all based around erosion and very little remaining foothold space between big rocks and narrow ledges. The track has become significantly more challenging over the last 18 months. Growth of ongaonga (stinging nettle) in typical handhold areas is also making the track more difficult.



Sources: DOC Presentation to Waimea TC, DOC website, Walking Access NZ, Outdoor Recreation Consortium

Hut and Track News - September 2017

posted Sep 18, 2017, 4:40 AM by Robert Wopereis

Lake Rotoroa Route closure
DOC plan to formally close the Lake Rotoroa Route in Nelson Lakes National Park. The route runs along the eastern shore of Lake Rotoroa for 16.2km, linking Rotoroa village with the head of the lake and access to the Sabine Track, Sabine-Speargrass Track and Cedric Route. The route has been unmaintained for over six years, following a number of storms and significant tree windfall events. Historically usage has been low due to it being considered a less than pleasant walk as well as the presence of the water taxi operating on the lake, which eliminates a tough full day’s walking. It is estimated that six staff members would have to take at least two weeks to reopen the track just to a route standard, at a cost of $12-15,000, then with ongoing costs of $3-4,000 per year. Most tramping routes in the park are accessed from St Arnaud, and the Mt Robert-Speargrass-Sabine route is an easier and more pleasant tramp of a similar time and distance to reach the head of Lake Rotoroa.

Angelus Hut
Bookings will now be required for Labour weekend and Queen's Birthday weekend (Friday to Sunday nights) at Angelus Hut in Nelson Lakes National Park. Currently bookings are required during the peak season which runs from late November to 30 April.

The change is in response to a huge increase in visitor numbers at the Angelus Hut over these long weekends in recent years. Reports of up to 52 people crammed into the 28-bunk hut prompted DOC to extend the booking system to cover the two holiday weekends from October 2017.

Blue Lake Hut
A 1,000kg-hut was airlifted to Blue Lake by the New Zealand Defence Force in August 2017 to house DOC hut wardens. Blue Lake, also known as Rotomairewhenua, has the clearest natural fresh water in the world and is considered sacred by local iwi. An NH90 helicopter manned by Air Force and Army personnel, moved the shelter about 32kms from St Arnaud to its new location beside Blue Lake in Nelson lakes National Park

Visitor numbers to Blue Lake has increased significantly since 2015 as word spread about the clarity of the water. Wardens at Blue Lake Hut will be used to manage high numbers of visitors, by staying overnight in the area and ensuring that the lake and environment are protected. The Te Araroa Trail passed through the area, and the trail's growing popularity had also played a part in the increasing number of visitors.

Caroline Creek Hut
A new Caroline Creek Hut is expected to be built this summer 2017-2018 after a delay in plans to build the hut last summer 2016-2017. A generous individual has donated $250,000-$300,000 to replace the antiquated basic 2-bunk Caroline Creek Bivvy in the St James Conservation Area with a 10-bunk standard hut.

Hut and Track News - June 2017

posted Sep 18, 2017, 4:28 AM by Robert Wopereis   [ updated Sep 18, 2017, 4:43 AM ]

Kahurangi National Park
The mountain biking season on the Heaphy Track has been extended into October and November.

Lewis Hut on the Heaphy Track is being threatened by the Lewis River. DOC is monitoring the erosion and is considering future options for the hut.

During April 2017, Sylvester Hut was refurbished internally, including the resurfacing of the floor.

Nelson Lakes National Park
During March 2017, DOC spent three days at Sabine Hut, fixing the wastewater system, cleaning the chimney, roof valleys and the gutters. Vegetation clearance and tree removal was also carried out around the hut.

Thieves have stolen the cast-iron pot belly fireplace from Barbers Hut in South Marlborough during March 2017. It is the first time a fireplace has been stolen from a backcountry hut in Marlborough. The hut can be accessed by 4WD and would have required more than one person to move it from the hut into a vehicle. DOC Renwick community ranger Clare Moore said she could not understand why someone would steal a fireplace from a DOC hut. "People have taken axes before, and that's a real nuisance. But to have people, who are obviously outdoors people, steal a fireplace is hard to understand," she said. The fireplace was worth about $5,000, but DOC installed a replacement from additional parts during April 2017. Barbers Hut is a standard six-bunk hut in the in the Leatham Valley, off the Wairau Valley, popular with both trampers and hunters throughout the year.

DOC rangers have explored Sawcut Gorge during April 2017 for the first time since the Kaikoura earthquake of November 2016. The unique limestone chasm, 150m tall and only 2m wide at points, escaped the disaster unscathed. But the trail was severely damaged and closed indefinitely after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake. It is now a different landscape with steep climbs and deep chasms. Vegetation in the gorge has also taken a hit, which was a concern as there were some rare species of flora along the track. DOC hope to have the track reopened again by this summer 2017-2018. The nearby 6-bunk Isolation Hut was undamaged. Sawcut Gorge is on the Ure River near Ward, 45 kilometres south of Blenheim.

Hut and Track News - March 2017

posted Sep 18, 2017, 4:23 AM by Robert Wopereis   [ updated Sep 18, 2017, 4:30 AM ]

Kahurangi National Park

The swing bridges over Blue Shirt Creek, Shiner Brook and Big River, all near Saxon Hut have been replaced with wooden pole suspension bridges. There are no longer any “NZFS one-at-a-time” swing bridges remaining on the Heaphy Track. The only swing bridges now remaining in Golden Bay are across the Takaka River at the Lower Junction and the Waingaro River near Waingaro Forks Hut.


The Waingaro / Anatoki Loop has had a scrub cut and the anchors on the Waingaro swing bridge have been replaced.


Kings Creek Hut has been painted inside and out during February 2017.


The Charming Creek Walkway is closed until further notice due to instability and rockfall. 


Visitor pressure on DOC facilities in Golden Bay

Road-end car parks at Wharariki, Triangle Flat, Waikoropupu Springs, Wainui Falls, Rawhiti Cave, Paynes Ford and Wainui road end have often been full over the summer school holidays.


The Abel Tasman Coast Track has been fully booked during December 2016 and January 2017. 

Mt Fell Hut upgrade

A second working bee was completed at Mt Fell Hut in Mt Richmond Forest Park on 14-16 January 2017 after being postponed from December because of bad weather. The work included the flying in of a new larger water tank, the installation of a new wood burner and the fitting of some new benches.


A third working bee is scheduled for the weekend of 4-5 March 2017 to complete the relocation and upgrade of the 6-bunk hut. The work planned is a hut paint and the construction of a small woodshed. The project is funded by the Outdoor Recreation Consortium and is being led by Nelson Tramping Club.

Hut and Track News - December 2016

posted Dec 23, 2016, 1:23 AM by Robert Wopereis   [ updated Dec 24, 2016, 2:12 AM ]

Kahurangi National Park

There is a large slip 100m across on the Cobb Valley Track which was most likely caused by a combination of the earthquake on 14 November 2016 and heavy rain. The slip is located ten minutes downstream from the Cobb Tent Camp between Chaffey and Fenella huts. 

Stone Hut has been repainted and a new prefabricated woodshed has also been installed. 

Track clearing has been carried out on the Fyfe River Route involving nine workers over 3½ days.

The Matiri Valley Track has been cleared after work was last done twelve years ago. 

The resurfacing of the track to Mt Arthur Hut has been completed. 

As a result of overcrowding, a new replacement Mt Arthur Hut is being considered, but may not be constructed for a few years. It would be sited at the bush edge, 200-300m from the existing hut. A lack of space prevents a new larger hut being built at the current site. 

New windows have been installed in the northern wall of Flanagans Hut by volunteers from Motueka Tramping Club giving better ventilation. 

A new wood burner has been installed at Upper Gridiron Hut in March 2016 after the previous unsafe wood burner was removed some time ago. 

Nelson Lakes National Park

Blue Lake Hut has been repainted internally and externally and a new wood burner has been installed. A covered deck will be constructed and another toilet will be installed. A bivvy will be sited near the hut for warden’s accommodation. A dedicated camping area with toilets will be provided near Blue Lake with increased interpretive signage. The improvements to facilities at Blue Lake come as a result of increased usage, mostly from Te Araroa trampers. 

Different firewood supplies for some huts in Nelson Lakes are being trialled. Long lengths of slab wood from forestry offcuts are being provided along with sawhorses and saws. This is a result of a large amount of firewood being used this year. Nine tonnes of firewood was flown in to eight huts on the Travers Sabine Circuit in May 2016. This was used up six weeks later, then a further eleven tonnes was flown in. 

The Watson Creek Track in the Matakitaki Valley has been rerouted and windfalls cleared earlier this year. 

Avalanche mitigation work has been carried out at John Tait Hut. Because of the avalanche risk the future of the hut is being considered. 

One of the Travers River swing bridge towers has been repositioned ten metres further back from the river because of riverbank erosion. 

Windfall clearing has been carried out on tracks in the Travers, Sabine, and D’Urville valleys and on the Mt Cedric Track recently. 

A water tank has been installed at Relax Shelter which was refurbished last year. 

Three new larger water tanks have been installed at Bushline Hut. A new wood burner has also been installed and the bunks strengthened. 

A new track will be constructed linking St Arnaud village to the Teetotal campground and the adjacent biking tracks. 

Track clearing has been carried out in Lees Creek, Connors Creek, Hamilton River and Begley River, all in the Upper Wairau Valley recently. 

Nelson Honey Ltd has bought the lease to Rainbow Station from Lone Star Farms but no immediate changes to public access are planned. From Boxing Day to Easter Monday the gates are open and a toll of $25 per 4WD vehicle is payable to the gate manager on the way through. Between Easter Tuesday and Boxing Day the gates are locked and to obtain access contact the Rainbow Station Farm Manager, phone 521 1838 after 6.30pm. Access forms are required to be completed and signed by users at all times. 

Mt Richmond Forest Park

A water tank has been installed at Porters Creek Hut and a wood shed has been constructed. 

A larger water tank has been installed at Slaty Hut. 

More work is planned soon for huts on the Te Araroa Trail in Mt Richmond Forest Park.


DOC is urging people to stay away from huts and tracks in South Marlborough until further notice as they continue to assess damage after the 7.8 magnitude Kaikoura earthquake on 14 November 2016. 

Both the two-bunk Barratts Bivvy and the historic Barratts Hut in the Seaward Kaikoura Range were swept away in a large slip and are buried. Both huts, located close together in the remote Hapuku Valley, were small and had low use.

The Hodder Huts and the route to them are closed until further notice. An assessment by helicopter soon after the earthquake showed the huts looked undamaged except for a water tank and tank stand.

Sawcut Gorge is closed to the public for safety reasons. The Waima Valley suffered from numerous slips after the earthquake but the condition of Sawcut Gorge itself may not be known for a while.

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