Where is it? Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes National Park. Bushline Hut can be approached via two tracks as part of the Mt Robert circuit. Access via Mt Robert Road – drive to the very end of the windy narrow road. There are two parking areas; the furthest one at the road end is in the bush (so good for keeping car cool in summer) and has toilet facilities. If full, there is another parking area 300 metres down the road but this has no shade. Paddy’s Track starts by the lower car parking area, whereas Pinchgut track starts at the upper parking area.
The Tramp: We walked into Bushline Hut via Paddy’s track (4.8km) which initially travels through the bush for the first 45-60 minutes, maintaining fairly flat travel. Shortly after passing the turnoff to Lakeside track, the climb begins and the track exits the bush, with the next 1.5-3 hours zigzagging up towards Bushline Hut – there are stunning views of Lake Rotoiti as you climb which provides a welcome reason to stop, distract the kids, catch your breath, and enjoy the scenery. Paddy’s Track took my kids (12, 10, and 10 years) 2-2.5 hours to walk and seems to take a 4-5 year old 4 hours to walk (DOC suggests 2 hours).
We walked out via Pinchgut track (4.6 km), which took us 1 hour to walk up to Mt Robert via the remainder of Paddy’s Track, then a further 1 hour to walk down to the car via Pinchgut. Pinchgut Track zigzags continuously down in and out of the bush, but is wide and safe for young kids. DOC suggested this track would take 1.5 hours from Bushline Hut, but I would expect an average 4-5 year old would take around 3 hours to walk this.
The Hut: Bookable hut, with 14 bunks in platform style. Wood burner and firewood provided. Tap located inside and outside. DOC advise that during winter the hut can be hard to get to due to snow/ice and the water tank can freeze.
Visited by: Sandra and kids, April 2022