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3 ways to John Reid Hut

The six bunk John Reid Hut sits at the bush-edge on the Arthur Range. Photo: Pat Barrett
This hut on the Arthur Range can be reached via multiple routes

The six-bunk John Reid Hut lies on a south-facing bench, at the bush edge on the flanks of the spectacular Arthur Range in Kahurangi National Park.

At an altitude of 1250m, it has an unobstructed view of what I consider to be one of the best mountain panoramas in New Zealand. This view encompasses much of the Wangapeka catchment and, notably, the Mt Owen Massif – a stunning assortment of grey summits jutting above the Rolling River Valley like a series of gun turrets, primed and ready to fire.

Most of the routes in are over well-marked and tracked ridges. However, that’s not to say the journey is easy; it’s a full-on climb from the valley floor to the bush edge, requiring around 1000m of ascent.

Chummies Track
This is the standard route in, and the shortest. It rises steadily from the Wangapeka, climbing an undulating bush-clad ridge to the hut just below the crest of the Arthur Range.

Reaching the range summit is easy enough from the hut via a poled route, and offers grand views of the Karamea Valley. There are two difficulties: there’s no water en-route, and the Wangapeka must be forded to access the track.

Allow 4-6hr to the hut.

Gibbs Route
A little like Chummies Track, Gibbs Track also climbs the flanks of the range, after first fording the Wangapeka (a bit smaller here as it is above the Rolling River Junction).

The track follows Gibbs Creek and then, very steeply at first, up the hillside to the bush edge and an open spur which descends from Pt1566m. Once this sub-summit is reached, the range crest is followed north and east over several small knobs to a small saddle directly north of, and above, the hut. It would be difficult to descend to the hut before this point.

This route offers a spectacular traverse of the range, but requires sound navigation skills.

Allow 5-7hr to the hut.

Kiwi Track
Farther up the Wangapeka, where a footbridge crosses the river, Kiwi Track heads up Kiwi Stream.

Long and slow, this route first climbs to Kiwi Saddle and its resident hut where a night could be spent at this delightful bush edge hut with great views of Mt Luna. East of the hut, the track climbs to the Arthur Range. Where the bush edge is reached, a short scramble leads directly south to the top of Mt Patriarch (1701m), and perhaps the best viewpoint in this section of Kahurangi National Park. The main ridge continues on along the range crest, intersecting with the top of the Gibbs Track and route, to gain the hut.

Allow two days.