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Comyns Hut, Hakatere Conservation Park

Photo: Pat Barrett
Hakatere Conservation Park
5-6hr one way
Comyns Hut, 8 bunks; A Frame Hut, 3 bunks
Glenrock Stream on the Double Hill Run Road in the Rakaia Valley
BW19, BW20
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Comyns Hut is an old musterer,s refuge now incorporated into Hakatere Conservation Park in the Rakaia River catchment. The hut, along with some others nearby, is also now part of the Te Araroa Trail, so you may even meet some intrepid hikers out for a three-month walk.

A poled route travels up the long river fan, now dotted with pockets of scrub, and further up enters a small gorge where a 4WD trail continues more steeply to the summit of Turtons Saddle at around 1100m. This highpoint of the journey is worth the steady uphill grind as it has a grand view and a spacious location among tussock-covered ridges.

There are two huts up there with the first not far below the saddle on the Ashburton side. A-Frame Hut is set beside a stream running off the Black Hill Range and is a great place to stop for lunch. The landscape is unrelentingly empty; a good point to keep in mind should you come in windy or cold conditions as, save the two small huts, there is absolutely no shelter. It’s a further six kilometres to Comyns Hut from A-Frame, mostly on the 4WD trail but with some indistinct sections through the river bed where there are also several easy fords.

As the trail closes in on the hut, a small gorge is encountered and the river is constricted. A ford of the Ashburton is necessary to reach the hut and in high flows, especially during the spring thaw, it may well prove impassable.

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