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Waikiti Hut

Waikiti Hut

(Waikiti Hut: Photo Andrew Buglass 2018)

Maintenance Status

DOC made a decision in 2004 to seek a maintain-by-community agreement for Waikiti. Craig Benbow of Permolat has since committed to maintaining both hut and track. and intends doing a project there. Charlie Ledbrook of Permolat organised a group of Permolat and OFTC members and between January and and March 2019 they recut the track up to the Hut. They needed to fly in to do the last section below the Hut and funding for this was provided by the Back Country Trust. During this flurry of activity DOC went from being ambivalent to being committed to getting the mid-valley swingbridge up to scratch and did some anchor replacement work on it in April. This probably wouldn't have happened had there been no volunteer commitment to the upkeep of the valley, and is one of many examples of a positive flow-on effect that our work is having.


Ahaura catchment. Ref:NZTM2000 E1506000/ N5281370 (BU21 060 814). Topo50 Map BU21. Altitude 445m. Waikiti Hut is located on a flat midway up the TR of the Waikiti River, which is a major tributary of the Ahaura River. Prior to the trackwork in 2009 the Hut was receiving extremely low numbers of walk-in visitors, and had largely become the preserve of fly-in hunters. Recent parties have remarked on the abundance of Kaka in the valley, and here is a healthy Robin population also.


Access up the Waikiti valley starts from the road bridge on the TR of the River. The DOC sign states seven hours, but it can be much quicker by a fit party. The track was chainsawed to the swingbridge by DOC in 2009 and abundantly marked with orange triangles throughout its length. Charlie and his team have done a thorough job of bringing it up to standard along its entire length. They also installed a ladder on a section exposed rock in one of the side-creeks. The track starts on the TR at the bridge on the Haupiri-Amuri Road. It climbs up and around a gorge for the first couple of hours before dropping back to the River. It crosses a swingbridge and continues up the TL, climbing initially to get around a second gorgy section. This is a rough bit with a couple of active slips. There is a short, uncharacteristically flat section after the climb followed by a couple of annoying, undulating, and probably unnecessary climbs,to reach the top flat where the Hut is locateded. It is easier and much quicker at normal or low flows to follow the River from the top of the flat section, crossing where necessary. Fording back to the TR below the Hut is easy at normal river flows. Allow around 5-7 hours currently from the roadend to the Hut.

The overgrowing flats provide helicopters access, and there was once an airstrip here.


Waikiti Hut is an NZFS six-bunk SF70 design with an open fireplace, built in the 1960’s. The toilet is 50m back down from the Hut. There is water 30m from the Hut.


DOC painted it in 2005, reconditioned it in 2009 and did some trackwork in 2009. The fire hearth is in good condition and the flume is well constructed so as to avoid back drafts and smoky fires. The internal iron hearth surround is past its best-by date. There is plenty of dead wood in the vicinity of the Hut and water from a small creek 100m away. There is an NZFS food bin in the Hut for food storage. Low-IQ fly-in types have been known to use it for a rubbish bin after their piss-ups, however the rubbish truck doesn't get up that far, so please take your garbage out with you.


There is an alternative route into the Waikiti valley up Crane Creek to Rochfort Basin, then over a low saddle into Logjam Creek. The tracked bits on this route had deteriorated considerably from the early 2000's when Simon Lewis and Mauricio Lloreda of Permolat started taking an interest in it. They have trimmed and re-marked parts of it since then, their most recent effort in November 2018.

The start of the track on the TR has been relocated 200m further up Crane Creek to avoid an area of windthrow. It climbs up onto a sloping terrace and follows it at a gradual incline to around the 500m contour. From here to the 90 degree bend in the Creek the track sidles in and out of gullies, is adequately marked, but still rough and quite overgrown in places. This section needs more cutting. From the dog-leg it is easier to follow the Creek than to try and follow the old trackline which is mostly gone. The odd bush-bash is necessary around rougher sections of the Creek. The track restarts on the TL at an old flycamp site and leads up through a trench to the South of the little hill at the edge the Rochford Basin. This bit was recut and marked in 2017 and is easy to follow. The least swampy passage around the basin is on the North side past the old hut site. The original route to up the saddle is from the head of the basin West of the saddle, and is very overgrown at the top with dense tall scrub. It's probably easier now to take one of the low scrub/ tussock leads up onto the NE slopes of the saddle, drop back down and up to the tarn on the knoll SW of the saddle. The track down into Logjam Creek starts in patchy scrub 500m from the tarn in a SE direction at E1503582/ N5281463 (BU21 036 815). It was trimmed and re-permolatted in November 2017 and drops steeply into the Creek. There is a bit of sapling regrowth on the track but it is easy to follow. The track entrance at the bottom end is at E1504233/ N5280892 (BU21 042 809). Travel down the Logjam is easy and the Waikiti River can usually be forded without problems near the confluence. Allow a full day currently to get in and out to Waikiti Hut using this route. Crane Creek Hut in Rochfort Basin, marked on the older topo maps, burned down some years back.

It is also possible to access the Waikiti valley from the Trent River over an unnamed saddle ESE of Waitiki Hut. This is untracked but reasonable going and is also described in Brabyn’s guidebook. The creek that drains the saddle on the Waikiti side is wrongly marked on the map as entering the Waikiti upriver of the Hut. In reality it turns North after hitting the flat and meets the Waikiti downstream from the Hut. It route up is mainly creek travel with the odd detours. On the Trent side, the spur on the TR of the creek draining the saddle provides access down to the Trent River. It should be a comfortable day's walk to reach Waikiti Hut from either Tutaekuri or Mid Trent Hut for those used to untracked travel.

A saddle in the head of the Waikiti provides access over to Top Trent Hut. There is one entry in the Hut book of someone having done it from the Trent end without too much difficulty. The descent on the Trent side is down the broad spur on the TL of the creek that drains the saddle. The creek itself has three waterfalls in it, and should be avoided. Fording the Trent River at the bottom of the descent is OK at normal flows, and it's about 15 minutes from here down the track on the TR to the Hut.

An alternative route out of the valley via the Mt. Newcombe tops is doable, but a bit of a mixed bag. The tops are great, easy walking and can be accessed from the top of the Logjam Creek track in a couple of hours. They are adequately sprinkled with tarns and good campsites. The descent from the end of the range down to point 406m and the road ain't that flash. It is steep and rough underfoot, and there is an extended alpine scrub zone, (looks like it's been burnt off some time way back) followed by beech forest with a very thick understory. There is the very occasional open bit, then a nice band of supplejack just before you hit the valley floor. It would be a fairly big day in good conditions getting out this way from Waikiti Hut.

Another tops route worth considering is up Logjamb Creek and over Mt. Mason to the Haupiri valley. A section of ridge 1.5km East of Mt. Mason drops into the alpine scrub zone and is best sidled at the 980 metre contour on the South side. There is no easy way through around 120 lineal metres of some very dense stuff here. An old tops track which used to lead from Mt. Mason down to the Haupiri River has seen better days. There is several hundred metres of quite tall Dracopyllum to pass through in order to find the track's top entrance marked with a permolat T. The spur is broad here and the start could be easily missed. Remain on the centre of the spur to the beginning of the taller scrub canopy at around 1000m. Simon, Mauricio and Peter Alspach did a bit of trimming and marking on this section in 2018 and the line is still quite easy to follow. From around 850m to 650m the route is obliterated by windfall and regrowth. Below 650m the ridge becomes better defined and the old trackline is followable, albeit steep and slippery, until about 500m. The 2018 team cruise-taped from 600m to the valley floor in 2018 avoiding the old trackline at the bottom end due to windfall. Allow a full day for the traverse from the Waikiti and take a tent if you are coming up from the Haupiri side.


An iron hearth surround will be installed by Craig at some point. More trackwork is needed in places on the Crane Creek route.

Provisions on Site

There are two billies, two frypans, a pot, a large plastic 50 litre water container, a stainless steel bucket, an aluminium wash basin, two axes, a shovel, a mouse trap two brooms with dustpans, and big broom.