Home / Articles / Waypoints

Off track on open tops

Image of the February 2021 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
February 2021 Issue

Woolshed Creek Hut via Mt Somers, Hakatere Conservation Park

If you haven’t gone off track and want to test your map-reading skills, a descent from 1688m Mt Somers is the perfect first experience.

From Sharplin Falls car park, follow the Mt Somers Track clockwise over Hookey Knob and climb steadily west along the ridge. At Staveley Hill, 1085m, head north-east at the junction and follow the steep poled route to the summit of Mt Somers.

From the summit, open tops provide a gradual descent along wide spurs – making it straightforward to pick a route west to rejoin the Mt Somers Track south of Woolshed Creek Hut.

The lack of bush in this area allows the light to stay around longer, particularly in summer, and though hiking up high during sunset wasn’t something I’d done often, it was a forgiving environment to learn in. I kept stopping to take photos of the ribboning effect the light was playing on the mountains in the distance.

Being off track in a popular tramping area meant we didn’t see anyone else until arriving at the very full Woolshed Creek Hut. The snow on the tops had only just melted, so it was quite boggy, but during summer the broad tops would be an incredible camping spot.

– Racheel Hockridge

Support Wilderness

Since 1991, Wilderness has had one simple goal: to help Kiwis ‘See more, do more, live more’ of New Zealand.

If you value our mission, please consider subscribing. As a loyal supporter, you’ll receive these benefits:

  • New Zealand’s best outdoor journalism We’ve won multiple awards for our journalism and magazine production.
  • NZ’s best trips. Browse more than 610 trips with downloadable maps and route notes.
  • Trustworthy gear reviews. Each month we review gear we’ve been bashing and thrashing for months so you can determine if its worth your money.
  • Web exclusives. Each week we publish stories you won’t find in the magazine. View our latest web exclusives.
  • Member benefits. Our WildCard provides discounts at more than 20 partners throughout New Zealand.
  • Your support goes a long way. Your subscription will help us fund NZ’s best outdoor journalists and writers and ensure Wilderness will be there to inspire the next generation of outdoor Kiwis.

A subscription costs as little as $7.00/month for instant access to all articles, trips, gear reviews and gear guides.

View all our subscription options and join the club.

Already a subscriber? Login Now.

Total Ascent
Car park to Mt Somers summit 4hr; To Woolshed Creek Hut, 2-3hr
Woolshed Creek Hut ($15, 26 bunks)
Sharplin Falls car park

GPX File

Woolshed creek hut via Mt Somers.route (gpx, 34 KB)

GPX File

Your device does not support GPX files. Please try a different device.