West Coast huts and bivvies
No. This website doesn’t document many of the 140 backcountry huts found on the West Coast between Karamea and Haast.
Well, there aren’t many easy, or even hard loop tracks on The Coast.
The rivers are steep, and a real boulder festival. Often the route is just following the riverbed where rock hopping over car, bus, house sized boulders, and getting your feet/undies wet are required, even when the weather is good. The mountains are also very steep. It ain’t so easy popping from one river valley into the one adjacent.
With a few relatively easy exceptions, Welcome Flat, Cedar Flat, expeditions into the West Coast hills are, err, expeditions.
You need considerable experience in trail finding as the tracks can be poorly marked, you may be required to cross hair raising slips, or wait out flooding in rivers, etc. It is not simply a step up from the Great Walks, it can be demanding, energy expending tramping at its purest.
Due to the high rainfall, 10 m a year is common, and the steepness of the terrain, the rivers get up super quickly. That also means they can drop almost as fast. A 300 mm deluge in 24 hours happens often enough.
The remotehuts.co.nz website documents 66, err, remote huts or bivvies on the western side of the Southern Alps. Many are the most difficult/strenuous/foolhardy huts to access. Some are therefore seldom visited. The 66 huts/bivvies are no longer fully maintained by DOC and are now cared for by the hard working volunteers of the Permolat Trust. Thanks for not allowing DOC to demolish these refuges, as was proposed by DOC back in 2002.
Here’s a few huts and bivvies from The Coast . . .
Main attraction: it’s cheap, and can be used as a base for a day walk up to the hot pools if the Welcome Flat Hut is fully booked.
One of the great DOC hut locations, with the hut matching in quality.
Fortunately Cedar Flat Historic Hut, an old Forest Service hut has been retained, and done up to be acceptable accommodation.
Cedar Flat Hut is a fairly popular West Coast hut due to its proximity to the road end, it’s a half day walk, and being only a short walk to some acceptable natural hot pools.
Crystal Bivvy is a mattress-less shelter, although it does have an air mattress with a pump.
Douglas Rock Hut is in a spectacular setting with a backdrop of some of the tallest mountains in New Zealand.
A modern DOC hut, ie, insulated, double glazed, sandfly screens, on a river terrace above the Whitcombe River.
Two is full capacity. Three or more would need to be, or become, very good friends.
If you are fit and frisky, the track up to Mount Brown Hut is a great test of your fitness, and general capabilities.
Yeah, she’s fairly hard to get to these days. And it’s in one of the wettest areas of New Zealand.
Comfortable ex-New Zealand Forest service S81 four bunker on a grassy flat with an impressive mountainous backdrop.
A splendid hut adjacent, almost, to the superb coastline only four hours from the road. Sounds great. And it really is a Top 5 rated hut.
Toaroha Saddle Bivvy was rebuilt in 1984, but still was designed for hobbits. Two thirds height door and not possible to stand up inside.
Top Toaroha Hut is another old New Zealand Forest Service six bunker, there were 100s of these built.
Eight almost level campsites have been created in the tussock to allow tents to be pitched.
Welcome Flat Hut has become so popular because of the adjacent and entirely excellent natural hot pools that a year-round booking is operational. Note that if you do not have a booking this can cause major problems if you just turn up.
The rock bivvy is for those who appreciate living in the outdoors.
Yates Ridge Hut is not quite on the ridge, but does have a great view of Zit Creek, Adventure Bivvy standing out clearly next to a major waterfall on the other side of the creek, and the steep climb to Zit Saddle if the clouds are high.