Marlborough huts and bivvies

There are a fair number of huts or bivvies scattered through the Marlborough hills.

Some are from the New Zealand Forest Service animal control days, some are musterers’ huts. A few have been built more recently by DOC for recreational purposes.

Most are relatively little used, people haven’t yet seen the advantages of walking in the region, ie, generally dry weather, fewer trampers than some other areas, the generally good quality of the huts, and the easy-ish walking.

Here are some of the region’s huts . . .

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Barbers Hut, Leatham River area

The hut is very close to the four-wheel drive road. | Barber Hut, South Marlborough

Not much used by trampers. Just the occasional hunting party, and visitors passing through in their motorised transportation.

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Black Spur Historic Hut, Seymour Stream

The hut is surrounded by Lombardy poplars. | Black Spur Hut, Seymour Stream

In the 1970s it was done up, including the pouring of a rough concrete slab, and adding mud between the timber slabs, but is now in only average condition.

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Bluff Dump Historic Hut, Seymour Stream

People now stay at Warden Hut which is adjacent, or drive right on by. | Bluff Dump Hut, Seymour Stream

While it might be used on occasions in an emergency, Warden Hut is only a few metres away and is very much more comfortable accommodation.

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Bottom Gordon Hut, Leatham River

See. You can drive a big 4WD right to the door. | Bottom Gordon Hut, Leatham River

It’s in surprisingly good condition, considering that it is possible to drive a four-wheel drive to the front door.

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Bottom Misery Hut, Leatham Conservation Area

Bottom Misery Hut is right on the junction of the Branch River and Misery Stream.  |  Bottom Misery Hut, Branch River, Marlborough

If everyone who visited pulled out 50 conifer seedlings, we might not do much in the frightening scheme of things with conifers appear to be taking over, but the clearing and river flats might be devoid of trees for a while.

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Boulder Forks Hut, Leatham River area

Old and new huts are close together and share a toilet. | Boulder Forks Huts, South Marlborough

This is a shoebox of a hut, with a concrete floor and mono-pitched roof.

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Branch Bivvy, Leatham Conservation Area

Branch Bivvy has a big river flat out the front.  |  Branch Bivvy, Branch River, Marlborough

Beautifully sited, and even has a louvre window to admire the view down the valley, although many will choose to leave the door open as well to reduce the claustrophobic feeling.

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Caves Hut, Leatham River area

The hut is very close to the four-wheel drive road. | Caves Hut, South Marlborough

The hut is in good nick with two large single-glazed aluminium windows and the door recently installed.

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Elliot Bivvy, Elliot Stream

Yup, it's a garden shed, with two bunks. | Elliot Bivvy, Elliot Stream

Very compact, but reasonable accommodation for two.

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Forbes Hut, (formerly Seymour Hut), Clarence River

The hut is on a river terrace some distance from the river. | Forbes Hut (renamed Seymour Hut), Clarence River

Forbes Hut is on a river terrace above the Clarence River, in a cattle paddock, so might not be obvious to those passing by while seated in their kayak, or raft out on the river.

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Greigs Hut | Leatham Conservation Area

Greigs Hut | Leatham Conservation Area, Marlborough

It’s a 14 km trudge up a flattish four wheel drive track to the 1976 Greigs Hut.

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Hidden Hut, Wye River

Water from the nearby river. | Hidden Hut, South Marlborough

Not often visited, but the Wye River valley is quite beautiful.

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Kohutara Bivvy | Ka Whata Tu o Rakihouia/Clarence Conservation Park

A tiny hut in a vast landscape. | Kohutara Bivvy, Ka Whata Tu o Rakihouia/Clarence Conservation Park

Okay for two inhabitants, but more people would be a real squeeze.

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Lake Alexander Historic Hut | Ferny Gair Conservation Area

The old hut is no longer habitable. | Lake Alexander historic Hut, Ferny Gair Conservation Area, Marlborough

She’s decrepit. Wouldn’t want to stay there.

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Lake Alexander Hut | Ferny Gair Conservation Area

The hut was relocated in 2010. Once known as Tummil Hut. | Lake Alexander Hut,  Ferny Gair Conservation Area, Marlborough

Refurbished when the base hut structure was relocated from down the valley at the Tummil River junction.

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Lake McRae Historic Hut, Lake McRae

The old hut is now locked and used as storage for Molesworth musterers'. | Lake McRae Historic Hut, Lake McRae

An interesting variety of cladding on the exterior: flattened kerosene tins, corrugated steel, and some vertical timber slabs.

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Lake McRae Hut, Lake McRae

The old and new huts. | Lake McRae Hut, Lake McRae

Now a very comfortable hut, except there is no water tank and if the very small creek near the hut is dry, it is a long walk down to where there is a good flowing stream.

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Lees Creek Hut, Upper Wairau River

The mountains are dramatic further up the valley.  |  Lees Creek Hut, Lees River, Marlborough

Some may be disconcerted by the taxidermically attended to chamois head that appears to survey the room from high on the wall.

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Lost Stream Bivvy, Leatham Conservation Area

While there is a rainwater tank, it is flowing down at the stream.  |  Lost Stream Bivvy, Branch River, Marlborough

Once the super attractive fan waterfall is reached, the track is entirely gorgeous.

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Molesworth Cob Cottage campsite, Molesworth

That's the DOC volunteer campground warden's hut.  | Molesworth Cob Cottage campsite, Molesworth

Molesworth Cob Cottage campsite is where you join those in vehicular transportation, and pay for the privilege.

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Mt Fyffe Hut | Ka Whata Tu o Rakihouia Clarence

Mt Fyffe Hut | Ka Whata Tu o Rakihouia Clarence

Seems climbing Mount Fyffe is A Thing these days, and some prefer to stay in the hut somewhat near the top to enjoy the sun rise over the Pacific from on high.

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Old Boulder Forks Hut, Leatham River area

The old and new huts are close together. | Boulder Forks Huts, South Marlborough

On the timber sarking is a famous name, Ed Hillary, together with others dated June 1944.

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Palmer Hut | Ka Whata Tu o Rakihouia/Clarence Conservation Park

A great location for views. | Palmer Hut, Ka Whata Tu o Rakihouia/Clarence Conservation Park

It’s a big double-glazed hut to accommodate the rafters about six hours paddle downstream after launching from the Acheron landing. And occasional hunting parties who either attempt to exterminate the considerable goat presence, or complain about the lack thereof.

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Penk Hut | Ferny Gair Conservation Area

That's almost Ferny Gair, 1670m, in the background. | Penk Hut, Ferny Gair Conservation Area, Marlborough

Not many visitors here, and half of them seem to be hunters dropping in by chopper for a few days stay. The hut, therefore, is in good condition.

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Rarangi campsite | near Blenheim

Rarangi campsite | Marlborough

Not great for those in a tent, who at least get some grass.

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Saxton Hut, Saxton River

Turn left for Severn Hut. Turn right for Top Gordon Hut. | Saxton Hut, Saxton River

Saxton Hut is a recent addition that can be used both on the East West route, and the Leatham/Molesworth route.

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Sedgemere Sleepout, Rainbow Road

The sleepout is publicly accessible there on the left. The other DOC structure is not. | Sedgemere Sleepout, Rainbow Rd

This hut is used extensively by fly fishermen who spend their days patrolling the nearby Wairau River and various small lakes, and nights, err, drinking and talking about their day.

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Severn Hut, Severn River

Dawn at Severn Hut. Big days to get to the next hut, whatever direction you go. | Severn Hut, Severn River

Occasionally hunters come and stay for a few days which bumps up the bunk night figures.

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Siberia Hut, Leatham Conservation Area

Surrounded by beech and conifer forest. |  Siberia Hut, Branch River, Marlborough

Siberia Hut is located there because of the natural river crossing with a broad gravel bottom.

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Team Hut, Saxton River

This hut is not for use by the public. It's still a working farm's hut for musterers'. | Team Hut, Saxton River

Team Hut is an example of a musterers’ hut from back in the day.

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Tent Poles Hut, Seymour Stream

Looks good from here, not so tidy inside. | Tent Poles Hut, Seymour Creek

Tent Poles Hut is a classic station hut, that once accommodated ten people in bunks.

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Top Gordon Hut, Gordon Stream

Top Gordon Hut is on a grassy, high river terrace. | Top Gordon Hut, Gordon Stream

Top Gordon Hut is in a sunny location with a reasonable outlook, although aren’t those all conifers up there on the north side of Gordon Stream?

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Top Leatham Hut, Leatham River

Top Leatham Hut is in an impressive landscape with the waterfall stream not far away.| Top Leatham Hut, Leatham River

Used by recreational hunters, and those on the Leatham/Molesworth route circuit.

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Top Misery Hut, Leatham Conservation Area

A very dramatic setting. |  Top Misery Hut, Branch River, Marlborough

Not sure about the sense of humour of the New Zealand Forest Service employees who named this stream, but it is surprising when you actually venture up the valley, it is as delightful a walk as you could wish for.

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Turkeys Nest Bivvy, Wye River

Access is up that cliff. | Turkey Nest Bivvy, South Marlborough

Sited thrillingly on a rock outcrop, with a view down to the Waiau River, when the door is left open.

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Warden Hut, Seymour Stream

Warden Hut is very close to the road into the Muzzle leasehold. | Warden Hut, Seymour Stream

For those who have just trudged over Blind Saddle this is a splendid place to spend a comfortable night.

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Whites Bay campsite | near Blenheim

Whites Bay campsite | Marlborough

At the site of the restored historic 1866 cable station.

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Willows Hut (historic) | Ka Whata Tu o Rakihouia/Clarence Conservation Park

The timber slabs are deteriorating at the base. | Old Willows Hut, Ka Whata Tu o Rakihouia/Clarence Conservation Park

This glimpse into our past deserves some more love for future generations to appreciate.