A classic NZFS design, Brodrick Hut is a cosy six bunk hut that sits beneath the towering peaks of the Southern Alps. A trip there is well worth the effort, either as an out-and-back or for a longer trip into the Landsborough River.
The journey to Brodrick Hut starts at the Ram Hill car park next to Huxley Lodge. From here, the track follows Lake Ohau Road, a 4WD track that is slowly losing a battle against the erosive forces of the Hopkins River and its tributaries.
At the end of the road is the recently renovated Monument Hut. From here, there is a sidle track through the beech forest, though this can be hard to follow and walking along the river flats is easier going. It should take just under an hour to reach the swingbridge over the Huxley and the track that leads over the river flats to Huxley Forks Hut.
If the river is high, there is an easy to follow track that winds through the beech forest before traversing luscious meadows as it approaches the hut.
Main Huxley Forks Hut is a fresh and comfortable six bunk hut that, alongside the smaller three bunk Officers Hut, sits at the confluence of the north and south branches of the Huxley River. From the huts, the track up to Brodrick crosses over the North Huxley before following it up on its true-right side. Older parts of the track have eroded into the river, with newer sections cut to climb up and around these river incursions.
After the first couple of bluffs are avoided, the track or the river can be followed up the valley; neither easier than the other. Just before the steep climb through the beech forest to Brodrick Hut, a section of the track has fallen into the river requiring some coordination or bush-bashing to navigate past. Once in the bush, it is a short but steep climb to the hut, which commands views over the upper valley and to Brodrick Pass. This is not by accident: the hut was situated on the bush-edge by the NZFS when it was built in 1966 so it could be seen by those crossing over Brodrick Pass from the Landsborough.
A little further past the hut there is ample space for pitching tents.
For those wanting to climb to Brodrick Pass, either for the views or to drop down to Crewswicke Flat Hut in the Landsborough Valley, the track begins behind Brodrick Hut. Marked by cairns, the route takes around 4hr as it traverses gentle tussock slopes and rocky river beds before reaching the base of the pass. From here, the climb is steep with the track being cut through dense scrub, marked by waratahs. Higher up, the scrub gives way to rock and scree which, once successfully navigated, leads to Brodrick Pass proper.
The pass straddles the Southern Alps and was known to Māori in pre-European times as Te Tarahaka, an expression meaning ‘a thief who steals without qualms or cares for the thoughts of others’.
A trip up the Huxley is a memorable journey that can feature a historic crossing of the Southern Alps. There are plenty of cosy huts to cater for all abilities. For those who venture to Brodrick Pass, unforgettable views await.