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A winning combination

Image of the January 2019 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
January 2019 Issue

Hinerua Hut, Ruahine Forest Park

Some backcountry spots don’t boast anything that stands out. There’s not a superb view, nor a magnificent nearby mountain, but nevertheless an unexplainable combination of things can lend the place a certain charm.

Hinerua Hut, located on the eastern side of the Ruahine Range, is a good example. It’s a small four-bunker perched in a clearing among the beech trees near the bushline. Painted a typical bright orange, the hut has been little modified since the New Zealand Forest Service built it in 1960. Aside from the plastic water-tank and a newish wood-burner, it’s pretty much original.

Happily, maintenance efforts by DOC and the Hawke’s Bay Shooters Club over recent decades has kept it in fine fettle.

The hut gets only a modest amount of use, probably because to reach it you need reasonable navigational savvy. Access is possible from Hinerua Road, but you’ll need permission to cross private land on a farm vehicle track, which provides access to a tramping track over Hinerua Ridge. Alternatively, you can reach the hut from the south, beginning at the end of Mill Road. Poles mark a descent down to the Tukituki River, which needs to be forded, then a rough informal route climbs over scrubby hillsides (again over private land) up to the forest park boundary and the start of the formal track. Finally, there are remote routes to the hut from

North Block Road via the Waipawa River and Middle Stream, or from the west over Broken Ridge.

Whichever route you choose, it’ll be an adventure, which only adds to the hut’s appeal.

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Distance
8.4km from Hinerua Road
Total Ascent
806m from Hinerua Road
Grade
Moderate
Time
From Mill Road, 3.5-4hr; From Hinerua Road, 3.5-4hr; From North Block Road via Smiths Stream Hut, 4.5-6hr
Accom.
Hinerua Hut ($5, four bunks)
Access
Mill Road or Hinerua Road
Map
BL36, Bl36

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