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Lake Morgan Hut

Lake Morgan Hut

(Lake Morgan Hut looking down into the Morgan River)

Maintenance Status

Lake Morgan Hut is on DOC's fully maintain schedule. The status of the most direct route to it over the Bryan O'Lynn tops from the Haupiri valley is unclear, but hopefully DOC still consider it worthy of some ongoing maintenance.


Crooked catchment. Grid Reference: E1494222/ N5275780 (BU21 942 758). Map BU21. 1090m altitude. Lake Morgan Hut is located on an area of tops that lies between the Crooked and Haupiri catchments. It is slightly off the crest of the range, above the TR of Lake Morgan's outlet creek, where it drops into a steep-sided gorge, and good visibility or GST is required to locate it. The remnants of an older hut can be found next to a large tarn on the crest of the range directly above the new Hut. The tops in the vicinity offer easy travel and are liberally sprinkled with tarns and good camping spots. The Lake is a stunning and serene alpine gem, and an easy half-hour wander from the Hut. Lake Morgan Hut only gets about 5 visits per year currently.


The standard approach to Lake Morgan Hut is from the Haupiri valley over the Brian O'Lynn and Mt. O'Shanessy tops. The access track starts at O'Shanessy Creek at the end of Heaphy Road on the TL bank of the Haupiri. Heaphy Road passes through Gloriavale Christian Community land and permission is required and usually freely given. The community have provided a car parking area at E1495872/ N5281765 (BU21 959 818) which is DOC signposted. They are not keen on allowing cars to continue along the farm track to O'Shanessy Creek (a 20 minute walk). This last section is fairly rough with numerous small fords, but is still OK for 2WD. The track goes up the ridge on the TL of O’Shanessy Creek and needs a haircut higher up and a bit of marking/ realignment lower down. It is still OK to follow, but needs care to stay on in places. There are a few snow poles from the bushline, then an unmarked section over the top of Brian O'Lynn. The poles recommence after the saddle between O'Shanessey and Evans creeks, and lead over Mt. O'Shanessy and down its SW spur. The range flattens here and the main landmark is the large tarn with the old hut remains. Drop from here down the spur on the TR of the Lake Morgan outlet creek to the new Hut. There is no reliable water source from O'Shanessy Creek to the South side of Mt. O'Shanessy, so water needs to be carried. Allow around six hours in good conditions for the journey, although fitter types will probably manage it in less.

There is mention of an old track up the spur on the TR of O'Shanessey Creek, however this route is not recommended currently due to comments in the Lake Morgan hutbook that describe a "pretty mean" scrub-bash.

Lake Morgan Hut can also be accessed from the Crooked valley is often visited as part of tops circuit from the Crooked valley to the Haupiri, or vice-versa. The route starts just downriver from Top Crooked Hut. A track leading to the bushline from the valley floor was cut by DOC in May 2015. It climbs a spur on the TR of the Crooked River, beginning on the TR, 100m downstream of the Hut. The river is braided into 2 channels at the crossing point. There is an orange triangle on the shingle island between the two braids and there is a large orange triangle on the TR bank indicating the entrance point to the bush at a small stream that runs in against the bush edge, around E1492748/ N5271293 (BU21 927 713). The track climbs steeply in a direct line to the bush/ scrub line and it is well marked with both orange triangles and pieces of permolat. Very close to the bush/ scrub line is a short band of large boulders which are crossed to a small rocky knoll which provides extensive views of the Crooked Valley.

The track becomes a ‘route’ from this point marked by orange sleeved waratahs and cairns. It heads up through some low scrub to an obvious high point, drops into a shallow depression, then climb/ sidles in a NE direction to the crest of the Morgan tops. The last waratah is on a tussock ridge at 1420m (E1492850/ N5272930 - BU21 928 730) just below the top of the range. Travel is easy and reasonably level from here along to point 1489m above Lake Morgan. Drop from here to the saddle between it and point 1422m, and then down the obvious rocky gut below it to the Lake. The Lake edge is then followed to the outlet creek. Drop down the TR of the creek and cross to a flat bench on its TL just below a small set of waterfalls. The bench has small tarns on it and Lake Morgan Hut is visible from here in clear conditions. Follow the creek down a bit, then sidle back over to the TR and around the 1120m contour line to the Hut. Allow 4-6 hours from Top Crooked Hut to Lake Morgan Hut in good conditions.


Lake Morgan Hut is a standard NZFS SF70 6-bunk design, built in the 1970's. A roof-fed watertank was installed in 2008. There is no fire or wood stove. It has mattresses. The Hut toilet was levelled or destroyed by the weather at some point.


Lake Morgan is in very good condition currently. Some painting and resealing work was done in the summer of 2003/ 4 by DOC. In 2014 the Department installed tie-downs, painted window frames and doors, cleaned out the water tank, put netting over the tank to stop debris getting in. In 2019 DOC painted the Hut, replaced the Polycarbonate on the roof and a leaking tap on the water-barrel.


A route from Lake Morgan over to Cone Creek Hut in the Haupiri has as its access point a large scree (or rock chute as some prefer to call it) that enters Cone Creek just downriver from the Hut. A track leading from the bushline to the top of the scree was recut and marked by Permolat people in March 2015. A few parties have reported having problems locating its top entrance, however it is well-marked with cairns and cruise tape. the trick is not to head too far from the main range along the side-ridge towards Point 1368. Drop instead from the ridge at around E1494804/ N5274769 (BU21 948 748) into the first basin. Sidle out of the basin at around 1110m onto the spur on its TL and follow this down into a lower basin where two branches of the creek meet. Cruise tape and cairns mark the start of the track out of the creek near the lip of the basin. It sidles through patchy scrub to a small saddle on the uphill side of a prominent rock outcrop. The track drops down a rocky gut to the scree. Follow this down to Cone Creek. Allow around three hours from Lake Morgan Hut to Cone Creek Hut, or an hour more more if travelling in the other direction.

The branch of tops on the TR of the Morgan River is very easy travel and provides an alternative route from Lake Morgan Hut down to the Crooked roadend. This avoids the transport conundrum faced by those doing the standard Crooked - Haupiri circuit. There are plenty of tarns and good campsites on the route. Head from Lake Morgan Hut up the SW spur of Mt. O'Shanessy to around the 1280m contour, and sidle off here on the Morgan River side, and across an old scree to the dip just before point 1375m. There is a nice-sized tarn just beneath the dip. Travel along the range from here is straightforward all the way to point 1231m. Drop down the NW spur of the point to the bench below with open tussock patches. There is a band of alpine scrub to push through, but this isn't too bad if you stick to the ridge. Once on the bench, head down in a NE direction to the top of the broad spur on the TL of the large unnamed creek that feeds the Evans River. The going is open with scrubby patches down to around 1040m from where it is necessary to veer due North and bush-bash down a not-too-well defined section of the spur to around the 800m contour. Continue down the spur close to the drop-off into the creek. Drop into the creek at the 260m contour from where grassy clearings lead north out to the flats and the old Rotomanu-Kopara Road. Head back along this and ford the Crooked back to the roadend car park. Allow 5-6 hours from Lake Morgan Hut to the roadend.

A few parties have accessed the Lake Morgan tops from the spur directly opposite Jacko Flat Hut. The accounts of their trips in the Lake Morgan hutbook are not encouraging and mention an extensive band of alpine scrub with bluffs between the 700m and 1100m contours. It would probably be quicker and easier to carry on up the valley and use the maintained track below Top Crooked Hut for tops access.

Repairs needed

A new toilet wouldn't be a bad idea.

Provisions on site

An aluminium bucket, a hand basin, an old NZFS first aid kit, a broom and spare handle, a shovel, four billies and a small camp oven. There is a heap of timber under the Hut.