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Donation pays for new hut on Te Araroa Trail

Caroline Creek Bivvy is set to be upgraded to a 10-bunk standard hut

Te Araroa Trail walkers are in for a treat: thanks to a generous individual who has donated the $250,000-$300,000 required to replace the archaic Caroline Creek Bivvy in the St James Conservation area of North Canterbury with a 10-bunk standard hut.

DOC’s North Canterbury operations manager Kingsley Timpson said the hut, while also used by locals for climbing and hunting, is an important stop for thru-hikers on the Te Araroa Trail. Timpson estimates that roughly 500 people use the hut each year.

The second highest crossing of the trail is at Waiau Pass, which, for a southbound walker, is just before the biv. “This facility is the first hut – the refuge – that people receive coming over the pass. So it’s strategically quite an important location for a hut,” Timpson said.

The current two-bunk hut is also a popular base camp for climbers and hunters who tramp in from Lake Tennyson near Hanmer Springs. The bivvy is 17km from the road end in a normal vehicle, or 8km from the end of the 4WD access. In the summer, there’s a dual accessway for vehicles, horses and mountain bikes; it’s less than 10km from the St. James Cycle Trail.

The new hut will be built near the current hut; Timpson said there are two potential sites that are feasible for building.

He said the permits and consents will likely be completed before Christmas, and expects that building will be complete by the end of the summer. The donor paying for it all wished to remain anonymous.