North Canterbury huts, from Lewis to Harper Pass
This area has changed in usage in the last few years due to the large numbers of trekkers on Te Araroa. Now in summer you can expect to be sharing hut accommodation with a few others. Off the trail expect to have any hut to yourself, except during The Roar—March/April each year when hunters descend.
Nothing particularly flash about the huts 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 an earlier era, the rudimentary 1955 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 in 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 from 1955, with plenty of character, ie, the concrete floor doesn’t extend under the bunks where it’s just 60-year-old dirt, there’s a fireplace, and graffiti stretching back in time, hut users from decades past.
It’s a standard NZFS S70 bunk hut in a fairly unrenovated condition. At the time of visiting it had a major rodent issue. Earplugs were useful.
Built in 2007 it has a reasonable level of amenity for a tiny two-person bivvy.
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.
Plenty of character. Perhaps excessive.
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.
The two bedrooms at either end of the hut with a living space in the middle work well. Particularly for snorers.
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.
A well preserved hut, with a few renos: woodburner, bunks, benches. In a delightful spot well might track an attractive valley, ie, it’s a lovely walk in just a simple slip to climb around.
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.
A lovely easy camping spot not so far from the road.
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.
Once this was a New Zealand Forest Service deer cullers’ hut, like so many others.
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.
Too far up the Hope River to be much use to fishermen, it is handy accommodation for those wanting to visit the hot pools further up the valley. Apparently visiting the South Island’s 16 open air hot pools is a thing these days.
Top Robinson Hut is part of the Lake Christabel Track and accessed from Palmer Road.
A tiny two bunk hut that has been lovingly restored in late 2018.
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. On the positive side it is shelter.