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Earnslaw Hut, Mt Aspiring National Park

Earnslaw Hut has four bunks and a fireplace. Photo: David Barnes
Mt Aspiring National Park
Total Ascent
Earnslaw Hut, four bunks
From Muddy Creek car park^ Rees Valley Rd^ 20km from Glenorchy
CA10, CB10
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Earnslaw Hut (gpx, yo 24 KB)
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From the car park, follow the track across Muddy Creek and up the Rees Valley. The vista opens up, with the sweeping ridgeline of the Forbes Mountains from Mt Head to Mt Clarke dominating the view.You need to cross to the opposite side of the valley around Lennox Creek (on the far side), just up from Twenty Five Mile Hut.

A few hundred metres north of Lennox Creek climb onto a low terrace where the DOC sign indicated the start of the bush track. The track is a gentle gradient as it zigzags its way up for some 450m to the turn-off to the short side track to Earnslaw Hut.

A renovation by the late Garth Varcoe and family in the 1980s ensured the hut has survived the years well and, while character laden and somewhat draughty, still provides welcoming shelter. Given its chequered history, that,s a minor miracle. Built around 1900, to accommodate tourists, the hut was demolished by the airblast of an avalanche in 1924. Rebuilt further down the hill as mustering accommodation by Earnslaw Station, it suffered the same fate again in 1936. It was rebuilt once more, even further down the slope and this time in mature beech – the hope being the trees make the site somewhat avalanche-proof. Kea Basin is a worthy side trip from the hut.

Situated around the 1040m it’s a short climb from the hut. There,s a large well sheltered bivvy in the basin that makes for unique accommodation if you don’t fancy the hut.The basin itself, is a natural amphitheatre surrounded by cliffs and is a spectacular place for summer camping.