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New Canterbury hut opening this summer

The Waiau Valley, viewed from Maling Pass
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Caroline Creek Hut (gpx, yo 634 B)
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A new six-bunk hut is set to open in North Canterbury this summer, to bolster the growing popularity of the Te Araroa Trail route.

The standard hut will replace the two-bunk Caroline Creek Bivouac in the Waiau Valley in St James Conservation Area, between the St James Range and Spenser Mountains.

The hut is on the Waiau Pass Track, which is part of the Lewis Pass-Waiau Pass-Blue Lake Route. The route has become increasingly popular and is part of the Te Araroa Trail.

The new hut will be built 3km down valley from the existing biv – about an extra hour walk from the Waiau Pass.

“In the past many people crossing the Waiau have chosen to bypass Caroline Creek Bivouac due to its small size and poor condition,” DOC’s North Canterbury operations manager Kingsley Timpson said. “The new site was chosen for its greater long term security from natural hazards, while being achievable from the alpine crossing and for up-valley adventures.”

The hut is about 90-minutes’ walk from the road end of the 4WD track which leads deep into the Waiau Valley, or a three-and-a-half hour walk over Maling Pass from the Tophouse Road car park.

“It’s opening up a fantastic short walk opportunity for even first time backcountry families who are considering a safe experience to explore the St James and get ‘into the mountains’ from Hanmer Springs,” Timpson said.

The hut will be built in December and open in January. It will have a fire for cooking and heating and will cost $5 a night.

The hut is being funded by a donation from an individual who does not want to be named.

The map below shows the location of the new hut.