Walk, mountain bike, or 4WD to this little hut on the edge of a working station.
Located: At the base of Duncan Valley and Rhoboro Hills, west of Lake Pukaki. Access is from a signposted carpark on SH80 (road to Aoraki-Mt Cook). Map – BZ15.
Access: 9km, 2 1/2hrs adult walking on mostly 4WD track. We took 2 hours (including a break) to walk the last 4km (4 y.o. and almost 2 y.o). Mountain bike and horse trek accessible. You may also 4WD but require permission from the landholders to cross the land to reach the Park – phone Pukaki Downs Station (03) 435 0131. There may be a fee/bond charged. We found a wee patch of snowberries on the terrace near the hut on the walk out 🙂
Hut features: Basic 4-bunk ( = free!). Reasonably clean. Good quality woodburner (but there is little wood around, only matagouri, so having a member of your party carry wood/coal could be useful). Some cooking utensils. Hut is surrounded by good flat land, so ideal for camping if the hut is busy. Little stream for splashing in close to hut.
Negatives: Likely to be busy as easily accessible (hut book notes regular visitors) so we were relieved to have it to ourselves. Walk in is reasonably boring (especially for little ones) and in summer, very hot as little shade for most part. A few sandflies – littlest one got one bite, neither had repellent on. If we’re getting picky – hut floor is uneven so little people may trip easily, no fire guard. Hut is also a little drafty/cold at night.
Visited: Clark whanau, Jan 2016 (NB: we had access through neighbouring station so 4WDed into junction with Dusky Trail, walked ~4km).