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A west side story

Image of the April 2018 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more articles from the
April 2018 Issue

Stafford Hut, West Coast

Just two metres above sea level next to the West Coast’s Stafford River, this hut provides plenty of attraction.

We arrived on the low-tide coastal route, encountering quite severe conditions as waves crashed on the shore and sent us scurrying up steep bluffs to avoid the worst of the swell. And this was at low tide.

By the time we arrived at the hut, we were soaked through and happy to light the fire and enjoy the comfort of a dry bunk. Numerous records in the visitor’s book told of how others had also experienced a tough walk along the coast, with some being forced to use the inland route over Stafford Saddle.

To reach the hut, follow the marked tramping track to Smoothwater River where you can then choose the recommended and safer inland route (marked), or the coastal alternative, which requires calm sea conditions and can be done only within two hours of low tide.

– Jakub Cejpek

Stafford Hut via the Coastal Route:

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Stafford Hut via the Inland Route:

Distance
10km via Coastal Route; 9km via Inland Route
Total Ascent
406m via Coastal Route; 460m via Inland Route
Grade
Moderate / Difficult
Time
4hr
Accom.
Stafford Hut ($5, six bunks)
Access
From Jackson Bay, 50km south of Haast
Map
BY10, BZ10