Added by Crystal Brindle
Overnight backpacking. New Zealand wilderness. Hut accommodation. Unique vegetation and bird life. Access to Mount Owen. 16.6 kilometers (10.4 miles) round trip. 4,593 ft. elevation gain.
Once in Tapawera, follow the signs indicating Kahurangi National Park by way of the Wangapeka Valley. The road winds, becomes gravel, and narrows before it dead-ends at Courthouse Flat where you'll find picnic tables and restrooms. Begin the trek by following either the ridge or the Blue Creek Track. Both take approximately the same amount of time and have similar gradients. However, the Blue Creek Track provides more cover from the elements. Once the ridge and Blue Creek Track merge, the main trail continues to weave its way steeply through beech forest. Watch your step as some areas in this section of the trail can be quite narrow and uneven. The signs say it will take 6 hours to reach the hut but most people will be able to do so in less time.
There is a fair bit of descent included in the approach to the hut so keep that in mind for the return trip. It will probably take the same amount of time to return to your vehicle as it did to hike in. The "staircase" section of the trail is a steep clamor through roots and moss covered boulders and could be more aptly referred to as "the ladder." Once through this section the trail becomes a marked route through a dry stream bed and travel is easier. Shortly after leaving the stream bed you will arrive at Granity Pass Hut.
The hut is set just above the bushline in a rolling tussock valley. Water is available in a rainwater catchment barrel but is untreated. The hut is fairly new and very spacious for 12 bunks. The only thing that is lacking is a wood fire, so bring adequate warm clothing.
A small trail continues past the hut and into Sanctuary Basin and on to the summit of Mount Owen - Kahurangi's tallest peak. This fantastic walk is a must do! Even if you don't make the summit, Sanctuary Basin is worth a visit.
- Sleeping bag
- Warm layers
- Water purification
- Hut ticket purchased from any DOC visitor center
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Backpacking, Camping, Fitness, Hiking, Photography
Spring, Summer, Autumn
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Added by Crystal Brindle
I'm Crystal, a park ranger for the National Park Service in the United States and the Department of Conservation in New Zealand - you'll find me floating between hemispheres as the seasons change. I am an avid landscape photographer and wilderness explorer committed to capturing the scenes and moments that inspire me and require dedication to experience. Living in national parks throughout my life, I've developed a deep appreciation for the natural world. This appreciation drives my passion for protecting wild places today. My first job as a ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park inspired me to spend my time exploring the depths of the park’s wilderness and instilled a sense of adventure that extends into all areas of my life. I now actively seek backcountry recreation that takes me into remote corners of mountainous regions all over the world. I have had the opportunity to live and work in some of the most intriguing places our world has to offer - from the high places of Colorado, to the South Island of New Zealand, to the rugged Alaska Peninsula, and many locations in between. I feel that the only way to truly get to know a place is to meet it on its own terms and to embrace its challenges through which its beauty is revealed. To me this is the definition of wilderness and the foundation of my photography. Since I began this journey of photography three years ago, I have honed my interests to focus on high-alpine mountain landscapes inaccessible to all except those who travel on foot. These are the landscapes that captivate me. I feel drawn to share their remarkable qualities through the visual narrative of photography and short stories of personal experience. This is a craft that I am refining daily and my photography is only a work-in-progress but I feel that this effort is worthwhile as I strive to let the landscape tell its own story and act as a vector for its message. What's next? After a summer of living with brown bears and climbing mountains under the midnight sun in Katmai National Park and Preserve on the Alaska Peninsula, I'm heading back to New Zealand to further explore the wonders of the South Island and work as a Hut Warden on the Heaphy Track in Kahurangi National Park.Follow
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