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August 2017 Issue
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A hut few visit in winter

Royal Hut decked out in a thick coat of winter snow. Photo: Jordan Reed
23.7km from Bush Stream
Total Ascent
1-2 days (summer); three-five days (winter)
Royal Hut (free, eight bunks); Stone Hut (free, eight bunks); Crooked Spur Hut (free, eight bunks)
Round Hill Ski Area (Boundary Creek Car Park) or Mesopotamia Station (Bush Stream Car Park)
GPX File
Royal Hut via Bush Stream (gpx, yo 68 KB)
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Royal Hut, Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park, Canterbury

Reportedly once visited by Princess Anne and Prince Charles, Royal Hut is a challenging destination to reach in winter. Whether you approach from Round Hill Ski Area or Mesopotamia Station, expect big ascents, deep snow and many river crossings.

In winter, prepare yourself for delays and slow wading through deep snow – it’s best to bring snowshoes for the alpine areas to make progress more bearable.

The hut itself is basic; it has eight bunks, tin walls and a small fireplace which doesn’t do much for heating, but does help to dry wet gear from the river crossings.

Reading the hut book, it seems the only winter visitors are occasional backcountry skiers, whereas, in summer, a steady stream of Te Araroa Trail walkers regularly pass through.

From Royal Hut you can continue on towards the Round Hill Ski Area (Boundary Creek car park) which provides gorgeous views of nearby Lake Tekapo.

– Jordan Reed