North Canterbury huts, from Lewis to Harper Pass
Not much point in carrying a tent in this area, there’s not a huge demand for the hut space for much of the year. Unless you are enjoying camping along Te Araroa.
Nothing particularly flash about DOCs provided accommodation in this area, mostly they are either standard issue ex-NZFS huts or in the bivvy/basic class.
There’s a few huts remaining from the 1930s era, the rudimentary Cameron Hut with its bare concrete floor, dirt under the bunks, with an open fireplace, the renovated Hurunui No 3 and Locke Stream huts, both constructed on 1939.
Then there’s the tiny and mostly amenity free Harper Pass Bivvy, a frigid little box for much of the year.
Even the flashiest hut, of the serviced variety, Hope Kiwi Lodge, is a 1970s Lockwood structure that has seen better days, she’s a bit tired.
At least they all keep the weather out, and there’s a lot to be said for that.
Sadly Brass Monkey Bivvy suffers from dampness and mould.
Cameron Hut is the oldest hut on the Harper Pass route, with plenty of character, ie, the concrete floor doesn’t extend under the bunks where it’s just 80 year old dirt, there’s a fireplace, and graffiti stretching back in time, hut users from decades past.
Sadly Doubtful Hut has been long neglected and suffers from its proximity to the highway. It’s verging on failure for one of the basic requirements for a hut: being fit for habitation.
Doubtless Hut is a typical New Zealand Forest Service SF70 hut in almost original condition, at least the open fireplace remains.
Harper Pass Bivvy is a tiny box, frigid for much of the year, not so far from the summit of Harper Pass, that can accommodate two close friends.
Hope Halfway Hut was once kinda halfway between a hut and a simple shelter, once you ascended the giant front door step it provided comfortable enough accommodation for those who have not managed to get all the way to the more amenity rich Hope Kiwi Lodge.
Hope Kiwi Lodge was once the outstanding hut in the area, still much used by scout groups and school parties, it’s now somewhat faded and in serious need of a makeover.
Hurunui Hut is the usual everything-in-one-big-room style of DOC hut that tends to promote social interaction, if there are others about, and ain’t that what tramping in NZ is all about.
Yup, character+, one of the more memorable huts you will encounter, at least architecture-wise.
Lake Christabel Hut is not set adjacent to the lake, but in a clearing, on a river terrace some distance upstream.
Lake Man Bivvy is another New Zealand Forest Service bivvy that has been built around the length of a bunk and requires, for many, stooping to enter.
Lucretia Hut is more correctly termed Lucretia Bivvy. It’s not quite full-sized, as in door, bench, and for those who are tall, bunks.
Plenty of decent camping spots, and proximity to the highway SH7 make this a pleasant spot for families and inquisitive tourists on a day trip.
Mid Robinson Hut is one of the South Island’s many New Zealand Forest Service S70 type huts.
Nina Hut is popular for school parties, families, etc.
Visited by fewer than 80 parties in the last 10 years, and some haven’t stayed due to underestimating the time and effort required to get there.
Set on a river terrace above the Hope River, St Jacobs Hut has a unique design, there’s a kitchen area, then you go behind a partition for the bunks and table with benches.
Despite the proximity to Hope Kiwi Lodge, Three Mile Stream Hut has few visitors, hunters during the roar mostly, but it certainly has some charm.
Top Robinson Hut is part of the Lake Christabel Track and accessed from Palmer Road.
Not much amenity at Windy Point Shelter, no toilet, bunks, etc, just a simple shelter, in the bus shelter style, at the road end near the highway, but on the positive side it is shelter.