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Crosbies Settlement via Booms Flat Track, Coromandel Forest Park

Crosbies Hut. Photo: Vanessa James
Coromandel Forest Park
Crosbies Hut (serviced, 10 bunks); Camping, 5 tent sites
Via the car park at Booms Flat on the Kauaeranga Valley Road. Crosbies Settlement can also be reached from Thames via the Waiotahi and Karaka tracks, via the Thames Coast Road at Te Puru and Waiomu, and from the Tapu-Coroglen road.
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There are eight different routes to Crosbies. The Booms Flat Track starts off in pine forest before winding steeply into native bush. The track is narrow and not well-used.

The bush is mossy and lush, with bright kidney ferns and colourful fungus. After an hour of walking, passing by the side of Table Mountain, the first track junction is reached, where the Booms Flat and Whangaiterenga tracks meet. From there it is another hour to Orange Peel Corner where the Tapu Road Summit is signposted at six hours, Thames at 5.5 hours and Crosbies at 2.5 hours.

The hut is on the main ridge of the Coromandel Range, at the northern end of the settlement. The area has some serious history. In 1880, five sections of 121ha were allocated to prospective settlers. The land was regarded as waste land, and would become freehold if settlers developed and occupied it for a set period of time.

The settlers diligently went about burning off, fencing, planting fruit trees and digging gardens. Farming was not successful in the wet, windy and cold conditions, and coal was mined at the eastern end of the settlement and kauri gum collected to supplement settlers, incomes. As the Crosbies allotment was the only block with ongoing occupation, the whole area became known as Crosbies Settlement. Access was by foot, then horse, and finally by horse-drawn sledge.

The Lyes family bought the property and built a dairy, a two-bale cowshed, a three-horse stable, and a five-room house. They had a field in carrots and pickled their own meat. But the yearlings they brought in for drystock died in the harsh weather, and the difficult access took its toll. In 1928, the Lyes abandoned the settlement. By the 1950s, more than half of it had reverted to bush. Several more attempts were made to farm the land, but by the 1970s the only building left standing was a woolshed and the settlement was made part of Coromandel Forest Park. The woolshed served as a tramper’s hut until it was blown away by Cyclone Bola in 1988.

The current hut was built in 2010. It has one-room with 10 bunks.