Location: Inland from Mt Somers, follow Ashburton Gorge Road, then onto Hakatere Heron Road until Lake Heron turn off.
Access: The track travel along 4wd/farm tracks slowly gaining height over 10km to the hut. Look out for skinks along the way! 🙂 We walked out this way, as part of the girls’ first multi-day trip, walking from into Manuka Hut, then Double Hut (5.5km, 3.5hrs including lunch) and out on the last day. We somehow got onto the wrong farm track and ended up covering 11km we think which took 4.5hrs including lunch). Beautiful countryside but as it’s pretty open it can be hot and dusty. Although easy underfoot, the open valleys can make for boring walking so be prepared for entertaining along the way.
Hut: Clean and tidy musterer’s hut. 6 bunk, concrete floor. Apparently Sir Ed’s signature is amongst those decorating the wall but I couldn’t find it. Although the hut is nothing to basic, the surroundings are great. A stunning location with beautiful view down to Lake Heron and the Arrowsmiths. The river nearby has great ‘dipping’ pools for those brave enough or needing a wash – we all enjoyed a refreshing splash. And most importantly the lizard life – when you pay attention you realise that there are skinks everywhere. We stopped counting when we walked between the huts as there were so many. So great for kids to see 🙂 We even found a dessicated one which was carefully collected, named and carried out the following day! Also butterflies, dragonflies, and even a gecko in the toilet at night 🙂 No sandflies when we were there.
NB: Part of/near Te Araroa which means it could be busy, so come prepared to share or camp, or go out of season. Accessible by bike and 4WD which it’s pros and cons.
Visited by Clark whanau and Kimberley Wallace, January 2020.