Location: Ahuriri Valley. From Omarama, head towards Lindis Pass (SH 8) until Birchwood Rd. Follow this road for about 30km to locked gate. The first 20km are suitable for 2WD in theory but lots of potholes. After this it’s very much advisable to have a 4WD. 2WD have made it, but I wouldn’t want to be the one getting stuck. Many vehicles can’t make it the last 500m to the gate after a wash out in late 2020.
The Tramp: About 5.5km from Shamrock Hut. Some 4WD type track, then either in riverbed or beside it. We managed to avoid crossing the river proper by following a wee ‘goat track’ around/through some scrubby bits (see photo below). River was noticeably higher Day 1 when we walked in on a clearing forecast. Feet did get wet though due to stream crossings which was hard work for the kids by the time we were in the shade at the end of the afternoon.
The Hut: 4 bunks. Not really a little kid friendly hut to be honest. We’d planned to stay 2 nights and explore the upper valley but decided to head down to Shamrock for the 2nd night instead. The fire (open) doesn’t produce much heat and it’s very smokey. In warmer weather I think sandflies would easily find their way into the hut. The hut itself is tucked into the bush, which is lovely, but makes it a bit dark and the wood around was pretty damp. On that note, we got plenty of wood from the river bed and the stream/slip bed down from the hut.
Good to know: The sandflies can be hideous in this valley! We’ve been lucky to visit either in winter or straight after a cold weather system has been through so they haven’t been a problem. But you have been warned. This valley is also popular with hunters so you may want to be prepared with a tent.
Visited by Clark whānau, April 2021