West Coast blog | April 2023

The West Coast again.

I’ve had some epic trips over the years, but my intention was different this time around.

Short trips. Overnighters.

I’d noticed that the Belltown Manunui Hut has been relocated due to a slip it was built on starting to move. I also visited the previous hut, so a rare opportunity to see my third hut with the same name.

(I’ve seen two Rocks Huts, two Long Harry Huts, two Casey Huts after the first burned down, two Anne Huts with another conflagration, two Lake Angeluses, two Crows in the Karamea, two Anti-Crows, two Ninas, two Lake Daniels huts, and a few more if I care to exercise my memory banks more rigorously.)

But I might as well add a few extra days of food supply if I felt I could make it to Kākāpo Hut.

The new track had been cut to this isolated hut.

I’ve now visited every hut in Nelson Lakes National Park, and only had a few to get to in Kahurangi National Park.

They ain’t the easy ones!

Actually, four huts to go.

Branch Hut. Greys Hut. Johnson Hut. Kākāpo Hut.

First up, Kākāpo Hut. The others can wait.

The weather was looking good for the next week.

Good to go.

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Day 1 | Belltown Manunui Hut

Sun is setting on the way to Belltown Manunui Hut.  | West Coast blog, April 2023

I’d given up on the idea Kākāpo Hut by the time I made it to Belltown Manunui Hut, after almost 2 hours of walking in the dark.

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Day 2 | Kākāpo River camp

The track along the Kakapo River valley is very well marked.  | West Coast blog, April 2023

I’d been planning on a full rest day at Kākāpo Hut, but I suddenly preferred a lovely campsite immediately above the rushing water of the Kākāpo River.

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Day 3 | Kākāpo Hut

Beautiful forest, easy walking in the Kakapo River valley.  | West Coast blog, April 2023

Initially, I was scrabbling over fallen trees and around chunky boulders, but the track was always visible due to the doubling up on the markers. Pink triangles for the DOC contractor trapline, and white Permolat rectangles for the new markers.

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Day 4 | Taipo Hut

Looks easy down the valley, but the track has just finished, and it's about to get fun.  | West Coast blog, April 2023

I like a Little Adventure, so that it may be the best day tramping for a while, maybe even since Roaring Lion Hut last year.

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Day 5 | Belltown Manunui Hut

Can see down to the coast, but the rain is about to start. Little Wanganui Saddle.  | West Coast blog, April 2023

Some delightful forest walking punctuated by sidles through overhanging fern fronds that worked like an automatic car wash. Handy for someone who hadn’t had a shower for a while.