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March 2014 Issue
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The red shed

Car park to Aspiring Hut, 2hr; Aspiring Hut to Pearl Flat, 1.5hr; Pearl Flat to Liverpool Hut, 2hr
Liverpool Hut, 10 bunks; Aspiring Hut, 38 bunks
Raspberry Flat car park, West Matukutuki Valley


Liverpool Hut, Mt Aspiring National Park

The view from the deck of Liverpool Hut is hard to beat. An alpine vista stretching from Mt Aspiring through to the dark and angular lower Matukituki peaks lies before you. The hut’s located in a small alpine basin below Arawata Saddle and the peaks of Mts Liverpool and Barff and can be reached in a return weekend trip, although three days will give you more time to explore and soak up the views.

From the car park it’s an easy meander to Aspiring Hut, on to Pearl Flat via grassy river flats and sections of beech forest. By Pearl Flat the Matukituki has narrowed and both sides of the valley climb steeply; the true left to French Ridge Hut and the right to Liverpool Hut. The spectacular canyon of Liverpool Stream, near the turn-off, is worth a quick recce in low flow and is a great spot for photography.

The climb to the hut will test your fitness and requires caution in the upper section if there’s snow about as it drops away abruptly in places. Mats of dracophyllum and shimmery tussock welcome you to the tops though and the view, especially to Mts Avalanche and Rob Roy, opposite the hut, are amazing.

The 10-bunk hut was built in 2009, replacing an old NZAC bivouac. Popular options from the hut are Arawata Saddle or the summit of Mt Barff via the south-east ridge (hut to summit 5-6hr, ice axe and crampons required).

The tussock bench where the track begins its traverse across to the hut is a great place to go and watch the evening light on the summit pyramid of Mt Aspiring and offers amazing views into the upper Matukituki and across to French Ridge.

– Mark Watson