Pinnacles Hut in the Coromandel reopened on December 20 but will close again for six weeks from mid-February, as DOC continues to repair the main access road.
The 80-bunk hut is the biggest in the country and had been closed since March after heavy rain washed out Kauaeranga Valley Road and tracks to the hut.
The work was meant to be completed by December 20, but the hut will again close from February 14 to March 30 as repair work continues. Repairs have also been made to the hut.
But FMC executive member Anthony Behrens questioned why the hut doesn’t remain open to backcountry trampers using alternative routes. Behrens walked passed the closed signs and stayed at the hut in May after walking from the Broken Hills Campsite, and said there was no severe damage to the track.
“I understand their caution and the need for safety, but I believe there is a difference between backcountry and front country,” Behrens said. “It’s all very well managing the expectations of unprepared daywalkers, but collateral management of experienced trampers is possibly unnecessary. If the damage I saw was worthy of a widespread track closure, they would have to close the whole Ruahine Range.”
But DOC spokesperson Nick Hirst said the hut would be closed to all users.