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Top Crooked Hut

Top Crooked Hut

(Top Crooked Hut: Photo Andrew Buglass 2007)

Maintenance Status

Top Crooked Hut is designated as minimal maintenance. DOC were planning a chainsaw windfall run along the length of the Crooked valley in March of this year. Paul Reid, Craig Benbow and others from Permolat went in and did some maintenance and trackwork on at the Hut in May with the help of funding from the new High-Country Consortium, and a DOC backload of materials.


Crooked catchment. Map BU21. Grid Ref: E1492802/ N5271190. 575m altitude. Top Crooked Hut is located in the Crooked headwaters on a terrace on the TL of the River. It was shifted to its current site from one closer to the River by the Army in 1991, because of an encroaching shingle fan a short distance upriver. The forest around the Hut is predominantly rata/ kamahi and the peaks of the Kaimata Range and Lake Morgan tops provide a picturesque backdrop. The Crooked is rugged little valley with great remote ambience. Visits to the Hut are infrequent, mostly groups doing the Lake Morgan tops circuit. The hutbook lists 7 for 2013.


The route up to Top Crooked from Jacko Flat Hut is up the TL of the valley. The tracked sections were recut in by DOC in 2009, and they were going to do a windfall run this autumn just past. The first section passes through fairly open beech forest, followed by a couple of short riverbed sections mid-valley. The Department has disked a route up one of the river channels, and this can be used when the River is at normal flows. If a ford weren't possible, then a bush-bash on the TL would be required. The track emerges in the head of the valley and there is another 15 minutes or so of boulderhopping to the Hut. Allow 2-2.5 hours from Jacko Flat Hut to Top Crooked Hut, or 7-10 hours from the Crooked roadend.

There is Helicopter access on the river flat below the Hut.


Top Crooked is an unmodified NZFS S81 four-bunk design with an open fire. Our latest report suggests it was built by Down Cowlin, the Ranger at Ahaura between 1963 and 65. It is lined with the original tar paper. There is a toilet. Water is from the River.


Top Crooked Hut is in good condition currently. DOC painted and resealed it and did some basic maintenance in 2004, and revisited in 2012 to rebuild the woodshed. Paul's crew planned to replace a few of of the outside piles and fix a leak in roof above the cupboard.


Access to the Lake Morgan Tops is up a track on the TR of the Crooked a short distance downriver from the Hut. It was recut in 2009 and checked in 2012, and so should be in good condition. Its entrance is on the edge of a grassy area, just over a small stream that runs in against the bush edge, around E1492748/ N5271293. The track climbs steeply up the bush faces in a direct line to the tops. It emerges at a band of jumbled rocks on the tussock line, around E1492748/ N5271293. Waratahs lead from here onto the crest of the range. Travel is easy and reasonably level along the crest to point 1489m. Drop down to the low point between point 1489m and point 1422m, and from here down an obvious rocky gut to Lake Morgan, where there are numerous good campsites around the Lake. Continue around the Lake and down the TR of the outlet creek. Cross to the TL just below a set of small waterfalls onto a flat bench here with tarns. Lake Morgan Hut is visible from here in fine conditions. Drop from the bench in a NE direction and recross to the TR of the outlet creek. Sidle from here at roughly around the 1120m contour line to the Hut, which is a bench above the gorge in the outlet creek. Allow 4-6 hours for the journey from Top Crooked Hut to Lake Morgan Hut.

Access to the Lake Morgan tops is also possible from the head basin of the upper TR branch of the Crooked River. Climb from here up the tussock slopes onto the main range.

Cone Creek Hut in the Haupiri is accessed by heading East from point 1489m and around the ridge above the TR of Lake Morgan. Drop into first basin on the South side of the side-ridge that leads out to point 1368m, and follow the creek down. Exit the Creek on the TL near the lip of the basin and cross onto a small cairned saddle at 975m. A track leads from here over to a large slip that provides access down into Cone Creek, just downriver from the Hut. The tracked section was recut and marked by a Permolat group in March 2015. Allow 5-6 hours for the crossing from Top Crooked to Cone Creek Hut.

There are other tops routes in and out of the upper Crooked from the Haupiri and Taramakau catchments, which would all require reasonably high levels of skill and fitness. In the Top Crooked hutbook the is an account of a trip up an old, unfollowable track in Tom's Creek on the Taramakau side of the Kaimata Range. On the older maps a track is marked up the spur behind Top Crooked Hut that onto the tops, however there is no information on hand at this point regarding its condition. It is likely to be very overgrown.

Repairs Needed

Should be none currently.

Provisions on site

Five billies, an axe, a broom, an aluminium bucket, an axe handle, a broom handle, an aluminium wash basin, a hearth brush and shovel, and a couple of old NZFS food bins.

The following materials will be dropped in later this month: 10x 900mm H5 piles, 2x 2.4m 4x2 (100 x 50) H3.2 timber for pile bracing, 2kg Jolt Head 100 x 4 gal. nails, Tube of Selleys 'All Clear' sealant, Tube of Selleys 'No more gaps' sealant, 20x left and 20x right 'wire dogs,' 40kg bag of 'Dry mix - Easy to mix' cement, and 8x coach screws M6 x 100mm gal.