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March 2015 Issue
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Classic West Coast circuit

Bluff Hut, perched high above the Hokitika River.
4-6 days
Whitcombe River road end, Whitcombe Valley Road.

Bluff Hut, Hokitika Catchments


Bolted to a sunny, rocky perch high above the Hokitika River, Bluff Hut is one of those perfectly located huts that makes a supreme location to while away an afternoon.

Deep in the backcountry, you’ll have earned your lounge ticket walking here: it’s a two- to three-day tramp, and one major pass from the road via the shortest route, over some reasonably rough country.

Bluff Hut started life as a culler’s hut, but was relocated to this, more stable, site in 2009 and virtually rebuilt in the process. It’s warm and well insulated from the weather.

Some spectacular and rewarding country is passed en route: the Whitcombe River, Frew Saddle and the upper Hokitika River makes the quickest route in, and it’s poled or marked most of the time. Onwards from here, the most popular circuit exits the ranges via the Mungo River, Toaroha Saddle and Toaroha Valley, making one of the most classic circuits in New Zealand backcountry tramping.

The hut itself is close to the Main Divide (another route here is via Mathias Pass), and has awesome views into the Mungo Valley and across to the Diedrichs Range opposite. Just make sure you get here with time to linger.

Mark Watson