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Big Hut, Rock and Pillar Conservation Area

Big Hut on the Rock and Pillar Range. Photo: Lisa McGonigle
Rock and Pillar Conservation Area
Big Hut, 25 bunks ($10 per night ($5 for children 12 years or younger).
About 5km north of Middlemarch there is a DOC sign at the junction of McKinnon Road and SH87. Drive along the track and park at the designated spot
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Follow the marked track towards the hill. At the first stile turn sharp right and follow the fence to the sign-posted Rock and Pillar Conservation Area. The route heads left and climbs steeply close to the boundary fence (a firebreak to the left of the fence is on private property).

Approximately 400m up, the route veers to the right and heads directly up-hill for another 300m to ‘The Gut’ (an incised gully). A continuous line of snow poles then leads to the right away from a nearby fence, to reach the hut just over the lip of the summit plateau.

The route is marked the entire way either by orange metal standards or hardwood snowpoles. The standards and snowpoles have reflectorised patches. There are two solar-powered navigation lamps on the upper section.

If unfamiliar with the route it is inadvisable to tackle it in adverse conditions. Gale force, and stronger, winds are common, especially in the upper section – is not unknown to have to crawl the last few hundred metres to the hut. It can become so hazardous that retreat is the only option.