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Healey Creek Hut

Healey Creek Hut

(Healey Creek Hut looking out to the coast: Photo Simon Johnson 2004)

Maintenance status

Healey Creek Hut is designated as minimal maintenance. The track to it is no longer officially maintained and although various people have given it attention over the years, it is now very much in need of cutting and a bit of marking. The Hut itself while sound structurally has started to move sideways on its piles and is in need of some attention with regard to this. Tom Hayes of Christchurch has taken the project on and plans a trip in April to repile and re-roof, do some weatherproofing, and install a water tank.


Mikonui catchment. Map BV18. Grid Ref: E1429870/ N5231505. Altitude 1170m. Healey Hut is located on a tussock bench high above the TL of Healey Creek with fabulous views out over the frontal ranges to the Tasman Sea. It can be reached in a day from the Mikonui roadend and is an access point for Galena Ridge and some great alpine crossings to the Whitcombe, Tuke and Waitaha catchments.


The Access to Healey Creek Hut is up a long spur from the river flats, 20 minutes upstream from Mikonui Flat Hut. There is 2WD access from SH6 to Mikonui Flat up the Totara River valley and over a low bush saddle. It's a 3km stroll over paddocks and river flats from the roadend to Mikonui Flat Hut, which has six bunks and a woodburner. The Mikonui needs to be forded to get over to Mikonui Flat Hut, but is not problematic at normal flows. From Mikonui Flat Hut it's a 20 minute walk up the river flats on the TL to the start of the Healey Creek track, which starts on the bush edge about 100m upriver from a conspicuous shingle fan. It goes up a steep rib between two small side-creeks that leads onto Healey Spur, which is then followed. It is a long spur with several ups and downs in the alpine scrub zone. The track emerges from the scrub where the ridge flattens, around E1429500/ N5231925. A few short wooden stakes with permolat lead down some tussock faces in a SE direction to the bench where the Hut is located.

Toi toi, flax and scrub are encroaching quite badly in the sub-alpine zone and there is a little bit windthrow at the bottom end of the track that needs clearing. More markers are needed in places and care needs to be taken in a couple of spots when travelling downhill, so as not to veer off the route. The stakes in the tussock zone are minimal and some have fallen over and would not be visible in snow. The Hut is visible from just below the drop-off point, but would be difficult to locate in poor visibility without GPS. A moderately fit party should be able to reach it from the roadend in 5-6 hours.


Healey Creek Hut is a standard NZFS, 4-bunk S81 design built in 1969. It was lined internally in the early 80's. There is no heating or toilet, and water is from some small tarns and waterholes in the surrounds. The small stream marked next to the Hut on the map is usually dry, and the tarns are prone to drying up during longer dry spells. There is cellphone reception from the Hut, although the signal is not a strong one.


Healy Creek Hut was painted, resealed, and provided with new fireproof mattresses by DOC during the summer of 2003/4. The condition of the Hut has deteriorated noticeably over the past couple of years. All piles are now on a lean of between five and 10 degrees in an uphill direction. They are probably silver pine and and not concreted in place. Roof water flows into the pile area which is often very wet. The interceptor drains have also filled with sediment over time and contributed to the ponding problem. The sub floor timber framing is all surprisingly sound with no obvious decay or water damage, even around the door where rainwater has been driving in. The wall cladding and bearer flashings (except for one at the door ) cover all the timber well and have protected it well. Water is getting in under the door flashing and ponding in the cupboard and under the first bunk. Some of the floorboards in these areas are starting to get a bit dozy. Condensation is forming on the inside of the skylight and running off the purlin and onto the bunk below. The Hut also has extensive rust patching on the roof. The Hut tie-downs are slack.


To access Galena Ridge it is necessary to climb up onto Healy Spur from the Hut. A more direct sidle up the tussock faces on the Healey Creek side of the Spur is blocked by a deep slot just East of the Hut. Further up the Spur itself there is a narrow exposed section SE of point 1643m that needs to be traversed with care. Those that don't like dangling their boots in separate catchments can drop off the Spur NW of point 1643m around the 1500m contour, and sidle along the high tussock benches on the Healey Creek side. Climb back onto the crest at the low point SE of point 1643m and ascend the last steep section up onto Galena Ridge.

A direct traverse East along the crest of the range to Mt. Bowen and Mikonui Spur Biv is blocked by a vertical section just East of Remarkable Peak. One as yet untried route would involve dropping down the ridge running SE from the flat area East of point 1673m, then sidling in and out of the upper branches of Warning Creek before climbing back up onto the crest of the Range. The heads of the side-creeks are steep and actively eroding in many places. Once back on the main range the travel is good to the 1700m contour NE of point 1625m The least difficult route from here is via a steep couloir that leads up to the col between Mt. Bowen and Sentinel Peak. The gut is accessed by way of a short exposed sidle over a sloping gravel (or snow depending on the season) bench from the main ridge. Head up the gut which has snow all year round and is steep at the top, or cross the gut and climb out onto the rocky rib on its TL. Scramble up this towards Sentinel Peak. Allow a full day for the crossing from Healey Hut to Mikonui Spur Biv. The steeper sections on the Bowen approach will be icy at times during winter and spring, requiring ice axes, crampons, and possibly a rope.

Galena Ridge is reasonably a straightforward traverse for most of its length, and Top Tuke, Hut can be accessed down the ridge running SW off point 1974m. The ridge bounds the TR of the hanging basin of a large unnamed side-creek. The route from the lip of the basin down to Top Tuke Hut starts at the end of a flat tussock bench on the TR of the waterfall, (around E1428665/ N5227080). A small notch in the bluffs provides access down onto a spur on the TR of the waterfall. Drop off the spur further down into the creek on its TR and exit it on the TR where it starts to flatten. Continue in a straight line down through patchy scrub to the Hut. The Hut is visible from the lip of the basin in fine conditions.

Further along Galena Ridge between point 1974m and point 2001m there is one exposed notch that requires a downclimbing. This should be able to be done without a rope. The views from

Travel further along Galena Ridge to Mt. Beaumont is OK except for one short downclimb which is very exposed. A rope is an option for this. The views from Mt. Beaumont are superb and it is a easy traverse from here around to the junction with Sawtooth Ridge. Ivory Lake Hut is accessed over point 2084m. There is a short down-climb of around 5m through crumbly rock just before its summit that could be problematic for some without a rope. A couple of sections on the lee sides of points 2084m and 1870m may require crampons during the colder months, however in late summer and autumn the few remaining patches of permanent snow can usually be skirted without the use of snow gear. Acces to the Hut is down the spur on the TR of the Lake.

Top Waitaha can be accessed by heading West from point 1870m along a flat bench, then dropping down the SE-running spur to the confluence of Watson and Stag Creeks. It is an easy amble down Stag Creek to the Waitaha River, and from here to the Hut.

It is an easy amble down Steadman Brow from Mt. Beaumont to Cropp Knob, where a maintained track leads down to Price Flat in the Whitcombe. The top entrance is on a side-spur that connects with Cropp Brow on a flat area just NE of Cropp Knob. The track was last cut in 2013 and it takes around two hours to get from the scrubline down to the Price Flat swingbridge.

A track from Healey Hut down into Healey Creek marked on the older maps hasn't been maintained for well over 40 years. The odd bit of permolat can still be found at the NW end of the bench on which the Hut is sited, but peters out 100m further down. The dense alpine scrub and bluffs below are not encouraging and access into the head of Healy Creek would probably be easier down the side-creek just upriver from the Hut. This appears to be partially blown out further down and may provide access all the way into the Creek.

Repairs needed:

The Hut requires repiling and re-roofing (including new ridging and bargeboards). Building a porch may keep the rain from blowing in under the door, or perhaps additional flashings for the outside door jambs. The hut needs resealing and painting. Any loose flathead nails on the wall cladding need to be replaced with tech screws. The window frames need repainting and the tie-downs tightened. The louvre handle on East-facing window needs replacing. The water tank will be a great addition and loo would be useful as well. The track up to the hut now needs recutting and marking in places and snow-poles placed for the section through the tussock.

Provisions on Site

A Shovel, a broom, an aluminium basin, a hearth brush and shovel, two bench seats, two spare louvre panes, three small frypans, and a plastic bucket.