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May 2017 Issue
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Plateau wandering

Nestled beneath The Haystack, the cosy Larrikin Creek Hut provides a good base for exploring the plateaus of Kahurangi. Photo: Jonathan Astin
Total Ascent
Larrikin Creek hut ($5, four bunks)
Matiri West Bank Road, Murchison
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Larrikin Creek Hut, Kahurangi National Park (gpx, yo 38 KB)
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Larrikin Creek Hut, Kahurangi National Park

Tucked into the southern Kahurangi, north of Murchison, is the famous Thousand Acres Plateau. This great tussock tableland is bounded by the Matiri Valley to the east and the deeply cut Larrikin Creek to the west.

Sitting proudly and guarding the head of the plateau are two striking peaks: The Needle and The Haystack, each offering stunning 360-degree views. The summits of both peaks are easily accessed from the cosy four-bunk Larrikin Creek Hut, tucked beneath the mudstone cliffs of The Haystack.

From Lake Matiri, a steep 700m ascent accesses the Thousand Acres Plateau. On the way up, expansive views down the Matiri catchment can be glimpsed. After three hours climbing, the track breaks out of the forest and into tussock. Here, a poled route leads from the escarpment, across the plateau, past the renovated Poor Pete’s Hut. After the steep climb to the plateau, this is delightfully easy tramping and the route crosses small watercourses that cut into the limestone bedrock and soon leads to Larrikin Creek Hut.

The hut is a great base for exploring the area. Options include climbs of The Needle, The Haystack and Mt Misery on the upper 100 Acres Plateau (also known as the ‘Devil’s Dining Table’).

While ascents of The Needle and Mt Misery are easy, climbing The Haystack requires a small amount of scrambling.

– Jonathan Astin

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