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Black Hill Hut via Townshend River, Oxford Forest Conservation Area

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November 2018 Issue

From river flats to mountaintop

If bushline huts and Alp views are what you look for in an accessible weekend tramp, then Black Hill Hut in the Lees Valley area of Canterbury is a winner....

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Black Hill Hut. >em>Photo: Pat Barrett

Just past the 1000m mark is the Fosters Ridge Track, which joins with the Wharfedale Track to the south. This track could be descended and the Wharfedale followed out, east, to the Lees Valley.

From here, there’s a final trudge through bush to a modest clearing where the six-bunk hut stands.

Above the hut, the poled route quickly leads to the open tussock tops surrounding the modest bump of Black Hill. By itself, it’s an entirely uninspiring summit, but the crest offers an unexpected breadth and depth of the landscape to the west and north. What a vista, with the peaks, ranges and rivers of much of northern

Canterbury on show. It was also the perfect spot to watch the sunset.

From the tops, there is a marked route north towards Chest Peak and north and west into Salmon Creek and its small bivvy.

Dawn brought with it thick cloud and gales at the door. Time to pack up and head down the way we came up, reaching Townshend River in the early afternoon. If we ever come back, we’ll use mountain bikes to speed up this part of the journey.

Distance
13.2km
Total Ascent
1025m
Grade
Moderate
Time
5-6hr to hut
Accom.
Black Hill Hut ($5, six bunks)
Access
Via Lees Valley Road to Townshend River
Map
BW22