Home / Articles / Waypoints

Charm amongst ancient landforms

Image of the August 2021 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
August 2021 Issue

Larrikin Creek Hut, Kahurangi National Park

View Article

Nestled against the beech forest, Larrikin Creek Hut is dwarfed by the towering, striated bluffs of the Haystack on the edge of Kahurangi’s Thousand Acres Plateau. 

It looks across to the bluff-encircled Hundred Acre Plateau, known variously as the Devil’s Dining Table, Devil’s Napkin or Mount Misery Plateau. 

These fascinating plateaux are considered to be New Zealand’s oldest landforms, and they possess a charm matched by few other places in the backcountry. It’s rolling tussock lands, edged by scrolls of beech forest and the occasional solitary stunted tree looking like a scene from a Chinese painting. This is limestone country, punctuated by potholes, dissected by cascading creeks, and ringed by bluffs. The calcium-rich substrate feeds soils that support more than 430 species of alpine plants. Small tarns surround miniature turf islands, festooned with sundews and other delicate flowering plants.

Larrikin Creek Hut is reached on a 7-8hr tramp from the Matiri Valley, near Murchison, passing Lake Matiri and Poor Pete’s huts en route. Access has never been better, with a new road and bridge over the West Matiri River built as part of the recently opened run-of-river hydroelectric scheme.

In October 2020, the hut received a Backcountry Trust makeover when a team replaced the roof, repainted the   exterior, fixed the chimney and built a new woodshed. 

Larrikins Creek is a special place and on my recent visit it was great to see the hut looking so fresh. 

Total Ascent
Accommodation Lake Matiri Hut ($5, six bunks), Poor Pete’s Hut (free, two bunks), Larrikins Creek Hut ($5, four bunks)
Matiri West Bank Road, near Murchison. There is a DOC car park near the West Branch junction. Walk the 2.4km hydro-scheme access road to where the track begins to Lake Matiri.