Kākāpo Hut | Kahurangi National Park

This once seldom visited, if neglected hut has been opened up by the efforts of Permalat in general, and initially Louisa Hines and Hayden Miller, then Andrew Barker in particular, who re-established the route with a big effort in marking and track clearing. Despite not being shown on the LINZ Topomaps, the track is now very well-marked and easy enough to follow.

It’s now only an energetic day’s walk from the relocated Belltown-Manunui Hut. The hardest part is going from the unnamed Unnamed Saddle sidling down to the Kākāpo River, where it is fairly chunky underfoot. The river has 100 stoat/rat traps on each side and a ridiculously well-marked track to the hut.

The hut was in reasonable condition due to the lack of visitors, but in 2013 the hut was re-painted, a new toilet, and various rotten bits of the timber structure were replaced. It was further renovated in 2022 by Backcountry Hut Trust volunteers who have re-roofed, patched various leaks, built a woodshed, and partially lined the interior with plywood.

The route over Kākāpo Saddle is more demanding, and while the marked trapping track extends 3 km upstream, there’s a two-hour section where bush bashing through the almost pure kamahi regrowth is required before you hit the well-marked track up to Kākāpo Saddle and down to the Wangapeka track.

Get in quick. This route will become popular in coming years.

PS. The birdlife is as raucous as you find in New Zealand forest, and you have the chance to see whio/blue ducks if going upstream. Keep your ears alert for their whistle.

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category . . . basic hut

hut fee . . . free

elevation . . . 355 m

bunks . . . 4 mattresses on bunks

built . . . 1958, renovated 2022

heating . . . open fire

water . . . 40 m walk each way to Kākāpo River. The hut has some 20 litre plastic water containers

toilet . . . longdrop

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