- A trail less travelled in Tongariro
- Splendid isolation
- A frosty paradise
- Into the Alps
- Abundant birds and spectacular views
- On Christchurch’s doorstep
- Sanctuary from the city
- A lonely lake
- Kahikatea kingdom
- A Karaka of a walk
- Paddle, hike, swim
- Hot spring heaven
- Playground in the heart of the Sounds
- Top location
- Miners’ huts over Wakatipu
- Yellowhead haven
- Historical hut
- Revitalised Hut
Top Leatham Hut, Leatham Conservation Area
Ranger: Paul O’Fagan, South Marlborough
Even the drive in is an adventure – it’s two hours and numerous river crossings in a 4WD vehicle from SH63 to Bottom Gordon Hut, where the tramp begins.
From there, it’s four hour’s walk to Top Leatham Hut, the first of two features especially adored by Paul O’Fagan. “My job takes me to beautiful spots right across the region, but this hut is definitely up there,” he says. “It has beautiful surroundings – beech forest, open tops and a waterfall tucked away behind it.”
After complaints from users about how cold it was, the hut was moved 20m to a sunnier site, raised and extended.
From the hut it’s a 2.5-3hr tramp to the 1590m Severn Saddle. The reason O’Fagan loves the view from here is the contrast on either side.
“Looking down the Severn River, the land has been cleared for farming while on the other side is beech forest and river flats. It clearly shows the human impact and it’s unusual to see this from one spot.”
The two features can form part of the four-to-five day Leatham Molesworth Route. Before driving to Bottom Gordon Hut, check the river levels on the Marlborough District Council’s website.