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June 2012 Issue
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Home for the night

Lake Angelus Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park

It’s easy to see why the Lake Angelus Hut is one of the most popular tramping destinations in the South Island. The relative proximity to a road end, spectacular approach and amazing setting are all real advantages for a weekend mission. We, however, had the place to ourselves.

Nestled in a glacial bowl and surrounded by high peaks, this location represented one of the main reasons we came to New Zealand and Nelson in particular. Just 90-minutes’ drive and five hours tramping and scrambling delivered us into a comfortable wilderness. The walk along Robert Ridge is a great option for a relatively easy first day – at least after the initial steep Pinchgut climb from the road-end has been completed.

After a perfect, frosty day on the ridge, we descended to the partially frozen lake just in time to watch the sun set behind the walls of the cirque and I dashed around to the far side of the lake to photograph the hut.

A quick wood chopping exertion to prepare for the expected hard frost was all it took to make our home for the night complete and our recently purchased hut passes worth every cent.

From the hut, there is a multitude of options to complete a weekend trip. Retrace your steps to enjoy the views in the other direction, drop to the Speargrass Track just to the north and west which takes you gently back to the car park or, as we did, descend steeply down the Cascade Track for a jaunt along the length of Lake Rotoiti.

– Dave Chadwick

Wild file
Access From the Nelson Lakes National Park visitor centre, follow the road west along the northern shore of Lake Rotiti, eventually climbing up to the Mt Robert Car Park.
Grade Moderate
Map BS24
Time 4-6hr