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November 2017 Issue
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Splendid isolation

Dorset Ridge Hut has an enclosed porch and overlooks a beech clad valley deep in the Tararuas

Dorset Ridge Hut, Tararua Forest Park

Ranger: Craig Harrison, Wairarapa

Craig Harrison has been tramping in the Tararua Ranges for more than 40 years and says Dorset Ridge Hut is his favourite spot in the country.

The serviced six-bunker is perched in tussock above beech-clad valleys, 1140m up Dorset Ridge (1355m), deep in the Tararua Range.

“You virtually walk out of the hut and it’s like the whole world drops away, with expansive views to the head of the Waiohine tributaries and the front range of the Tararuas,” Harrison says. “It’s a classic forest service hut, but it’s had a fully enclosed porch added and has a kitchen with a woodstove.”

Harrison first visited the hut in 1979 while he was still at high school and it’s been a treasured spot ever since. He spent five weeks at the hut in the winter of 1987, trapping possums.

“It was just amazing. I didn’t see a single person. Even now, less than 50 people stay there each year.”

The hut is a two-to-three day walk from the Upper Waingawa Road end. Head along the Barra Track to Mitre Flats Hut, up the Mitre Peak Track and along the tops to the hut, or stop in at Tarn Ridge Hut along the way.

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