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Waikiti Hut

Waikiti Hut

(Waikiti Hut: Photo Glenn Johnston 2009)

Maintenance Status

DOC made a decision in 2004 to seek a maintain-by-community agreement for Waikiti. It was painted in 2005, reconditioned in 2009 and had the track cut in 2009. Craig Benbow of Permolat has since committed to maintaining both hut and track and intends doing a project in 2017.

Location

Ahaura catchment. Ref:NZTM2000 E1504626/ N5281361. 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.

Access

Access up the Waikiti valley starts from the road bridge on the TR of the River. It follows the TR for 1.5–2 hours then crosses a swingbridge to the TL. The entire route was cruise-taped in September 2017 and had some of the windfall and branches removed. The TR section is still pretty good going. The TL section is a bit more overgrown, there is a bit more windthrow, and there are some active slips to negotiate, the last of which is possibly worsening. Fording back to the TR below the Hut is easy at normal river flows. Allow around six hours currently from the roadend to the Hut. Birdlife in the valley is quite abundant and kaka can be heard there.

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

Type

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

Condition

The Hut was painted inside and out in 2005. It was reconditioned by DOC in 2009, and at last report (September 2017) was in good shape. 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 and will be replaced by Craig when he does his maintenance. There is currently plenty of wood under the hut and also stored. Near the river is plenty of dead firewood.

Routes

There is an alternative route in and out of the Waikiti valley via Logjam Creek, over a low saddle to Rochfort Basin and down Crane Creek. This route used to be quick and easy in the 1990s and early 2000s despite not having been maintained for many years, however it has deteriorated considerably since then. A couple of Permolat parties have had a crack at remarking, and given parts of it at trim, the most recent being in November 2017. With the exception of the lower section of Crane Creek, it should be easier to follow now, but is much still slower than it used to be.

The Waikiti River is easy to ford near the confluence with Logjam Creek and travel up the Creek is relatively easy. This section was given a bit of a trim and re-permolatted in November 2017. The descent into Rochfort Basin is now very overgrown with scrub, with the odd bit of permolat. Veer towards the head of Rochfort from the tarn on the saddle, keeping the tall scrub and cedar forest to your left and a patch of dead tree spars to your right, onto a tongue of short scrub and flax where the going is easier. There is a relatively swamp free route around the northern perimeter of the basin. Head from here down a trench to the South of the little hill at the edge of the basin. There is a bit of cruise tape here, then permolat markers from 2017 leading down the trench to Crane Creek. This section was trimmed in 2017 and should be relatively easy to follow now. Upper Crane Creek is reasonable travel, although the old tracked sections on both sides are more or less gone. The track leaves the Creek just before where it right-angles to the North and sidles around to the 500 metre contour where the terrace broadens. This bit was fairly lavishly remarked and should be straightforward to follow now, but is still very overgrown in places. The next section down to the creek is not in good nick anymore. The December party re-marked route, but were frequently forced away from the line by windfall and regrowth. They eventually ran out of time trying to locate old markers, and took a bearing towards the track entrance at the Creek's conspicuous S-bend (they did see the odd marker from time to time on their transect). The last 100 metres from the toe of the slope across to the Creek has collapsed and very difficult going. Allow a full day to get in and out to Waikiti Hut using this route. Crane Creek Hut in Rochfort Basin is marked on the older topo maps, but 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 could potentially provide access over to Top Trent Hut depending on what travel is like in the upper Waikiti valley. 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.

Repairs

New iron hearth surround to be installed, 2017. A Permolat track cutting party is gathering and psyching up for have a more concerted track cutting mission on the Crane Creek route, possibly Autumn 2018.

Provisions on Site

There are pots, a large plastic 50 litre water container, a stainless steel bucket, an aluminium wash basin, a dustpan and big broom.