Arthurs Pass huts, shelters and campsites
The landscape around Arthurs Pass is shaped by the two major rivers: the Waimakariri, which flows east, and the Taramakau flowing west. This leaves the big spine of mountains between the two major valleys, Mount Rolleston in the west, to Tainui Peak in the east, and a whole lot of tributaries flowing either north or south.
Trampers have somewhat of a problem: it’s not so easy to conjure up a circuit, there’s not so many easy passes to get from one valley to the next, there’s plenty who ended up scooting up one valley and then retreating, particularly in the cooler months when snow and/or avalanches are common.
The huts are generally good.
Be warned that due to the proximity to Christchurch in the summer months more accessible huts fill up. Take your chances, or take a tent.
Many of the smaller, older style, ie, falling down bivvies have been removed in recent times. There’s also two spots where accommodation is missing: there’s no hut at all towards the bottom of the Deception River, and it would be useful to have a proper hut near Minchin Pass to help with the creation of a decent circuit, but I guess that would also require a better route to be found up from the Taramakau.
Andrews Shelter is basic, roof and four walls, but it does have doors to allow full enclosure, and some not quite comfortable benches.
Anti Crow Hut is an old New Zealand Forest Service style hut from back in the day, which has been well enough preserved.
Bealey Hut is an old NZFS-style hut that has had its fireplace removed but is otherwise in fair nick.
Arthurs Pass National Park must have envisaged a high level of use up at Carrington Hut, 36 bunks in four bunkrooms, with two separate kitchen/living areas.
While Carroll Hut may be in the clouds for much of the time, if the day is clear the view from up there is sure magnificent.
Casey Hut burned down on 2—3 October 2015. If you plan on visiting this area DOC recommends you carry a tent.
Not too many of the old-style huts like Cass Saddle Hut still remain on popular tramping tracks. This windowless hut is a real blast from the past.
Not exactly a dramatic setting in amongst the regenerating bush in what was recently farmland but it’s comfortable accommodation, can’t complain about that.
Once a modest farm house, Dillons Homestead Hut has now been converted into more traditional tramper’s accommodation with the addition of the bunks.
Goat Pass Hut has a great location, one of the more spectacular around. And a reasonable level of amenity, other than a lack of heating.
Hamilton Hut is surprisingly spacious accommodation, with two separate sleeping areas and an enormous central fireplace that is not used but houses a large firebox.
Hawdon Hut is popular due to its proximity to Christchurch and being a relatively easy walk from the car park, although some un-bridged river crossings are required.
The Hawdon Shelter is basic, roof and three walls, no doors to allow full enclosure, and some not quite comfortable benches.
The new Julia Hut is not exactly new, just newer than the old Julia Hut a couple of minutes walk away.
The old, character filled Julia Hut has been totally and lovingly renovated in 2014 and is a fully fabbo place to stay.
Kiwi Hut is a standard issue NZFS 8 bunker set on the edge of attractive red beech tree forest, with a fireplace, although it’s not actually standard with its curiously large airlock room.
The Klondyke Corner campsite has a basic shelter, with a roof and plenty of half height walls, ie, an excess of ventilation, and some not quite comfortable benches.
Lagoon Saddle A-frame Hut is one of two structures in close proximity, not exactly sure why two shelters are needed. This is the more recent of the two.
DOC defines Lagoon Saddle Hut as “basic” and you’d have to agree, it’s a windowless large garden shed, with a couple of mattress-less thanks and small bench.
Some bush construction skills are still evident, rafters, hand-hewn floor boards, etc, there’s plenty of character to soak up.
Mid Taipo Hut is a standard New Zealand Forest Service hut from the 1970s, although this has a large vestibule for any wet stuff.
The National Park has either removed or replaced many of these small bivvies, many would see Minchin Bivvy as verging on end of life as well. Fortunately it has been recently renovated by Roger Woods, Colin Morris and Liz Weir. Great effort.
Still useful for an emergency stop, perhaps the National Park will restore it sometime soon, although removal seems more likely.
Poulter Hut is not a bad place to spend a night and zip up to the beautiful Lake Minchin for some fishing or just to admire the splendid forest and views.
The Sudden Valley Bivvy is small and lacks heating, and for some crazy reason is orientated away from the light, the result being some internal dampness and mould growth. Take care of you don’t asphyxiate yourself with carbon monoxide poisoning, due to lack of ventilation.
On a fine day it is worth the effort to climb the 800 m from the Taramakau valley floor. The good aspect: the track is generally well marked and short, ie, you climb quickly.
Trust/ Poulter Hut is one of the numerous NZFS SF70 huts that abound in the South Island backcountry, originally constructed for the deer cullers, this is a particularly well preserved example, it’s still maintains an open fireplace.
Upper Deception Hut | is really the Mid Deception and as the only remaining hut on the Deception River, the Lower Deception Hut was burned in the 1980s, it could even be called simply the Deception Hut.
West Harper Hut has considerable character: bush cut structural timbers, err, no flooring provided, it’s dirt, canvas, hammock-style bunks, basically the opportunity for a trip back to the distant past.
Worsley Bivvy is an hour’s walk up the Poulter River from the Poulter Hut, I guess you go up here to avoid others, otherwise it’s a bit redundant.