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Roaring Billy Hut

Roaring Billy Hut

(Roaring Billy Hut: Photo Geoff Spearpoint 2016)

Maintenance Status

Roaring Billy Hut is a Permolat maintain-by-community initiatives, with Geoff Spearpoint as contract signatory. Geoff secured some Back Country Trust funding, and with the assistance of Hugh van Noorden and Peter Fullerton, did some major maintenance and painted the Hut in early November 2015. A second trip in with a work crew a couple of months later finished the job off. The Hut had limited official maintenance prior to that, the last probably around 2005. It has according to Geoff, one of the best designed loos around. Foot access was up until very recently, via a very overgrown track on the TL of the valley. This after a crossing of the Haast River by either raft, or jet boat. The track has had bits of work done on it between 2015 and 18, but is still only partially cut.

Location

Haast River, The Roaring Billy catchment. Map BY13 Lake Paringa, E1304673/ N5133179 (BY13 047 332). Altitude 460m. Roaring Billy Hut is sited about half way up the TL of The Roaring Billy in a small clearing near the river. The clearing is ringed by silver beech forest.

Access

Jet boat, kayak or raft across the Haast River. The track starts on the TL of the Roaring Billy and climbs very steeply past the waterfall at the start of the valley. The track was cut and marked from the Hut to first big flat downriver in 2016. In 2018 a tapeline was put in from the Haast River end following the old trackine, and then trimmed to the first major flat. The rest is still overgrown. Allow 4.5 to 5.5 hours for the walk at present. An overgrown track continues for a couple of hours up the TL of the vally from the hut to the first large river flat. Geoff and co added tape where this was unfollowable in 2015. Geoff intends finishing the track off some time.

Type

Roaring Billy Hut is a standard NZFS 6-bunk SF70 design with open fire, built about 1970.

Condition

The Roaring Billy is in good condition after its maintenance. The chimney was straightened and had a new base poured under it. Some sagging sheets of internal ply were replaced along with the roof ridging and skylight. The Hut's exterior was repainted including window sills. The team built a woodshed, poured a new concrete step for the door. They cut the track a short distance upriver, cleared the vegetation around the Hut and helipad. They also improved the start of the track downvalley. The second work party replaced the door stud and rehung the door, adding a few missing dwangs, finished a few more inside panels, then painted the inside, chimney, woodshed, and toilet. Drains were dug around three sides of the Hut and the access track to the River improved.

Repairs still needed

None currently. The lower 2/3's of the track still needs cutting.

Routes

The Thomas Range can be accessed and traversed along to access Windrow Spur, which gives good access into the Thomas River and Thomas River Hut. The range can be traversed to the north east to access the head of the Thomas or the Macfarlane Rivers.

Provisions on Site

A hammer, wrecking bar, saw, hearth shovel, broom, shovel, axe, a few nails, a crappy chisel, detergent, a part container of Jif, a billy, an ash bucket, aluminum basin, and a 10 litre plastic bucket.