- Mt Brown Hut (free, 4 bunks)
- Car Park at Geologist Creek, 2km after Dorothy Falls by Lake Kaniere
The track starts from the edge of Lake Kaniere and eventually leads to Mt Brown Hut on the Newton Range, overlooking the Styx and Arahura rivers.
The climb up the range is a small price to pay for the view of the Westland landscape. It encompasses lofty summits, gorges, river plain and the Tasman Sea in barely half a turn of your head.
The forest is a typical West Coast mix of rata, kamahi and rimu, with a rich array of ferns and shrubs carpeting the ground.
Mt Brown has boasted a hut in earlier days, but the orange box there now was ‘borrowed’ from an adjacent catchment, re-sited and given a complete make-over. It now welcomes all who venture up from the lowlands on the muddy track.
Waratahs lead the way to the bright Forest Service-orange hut, which has a small stove and four bunks. The hut sits on a sloping terrace at 1100m, near the edge of a scrubby face that drops sheer for 1000m to the lakeshore, a proximity with an opera-box-like view of the Westland.
The summit of Mt Brown is two kilometres away, up past scrub and sharp ascents along the ridge.
At the modest little hilltop vantage of Mt Brown are views of the lower Arahura, Westland's famous greenstone river, the over-steepened gulch of the Styx and, further off, the Hokitika and Taramakau valleys. Scattered among those catchments are the ridges, bluffs, and razorbacks of the fortress-like interior of the hinterland. Trans-alpine trips here come at a cost, and comfort is the first to be disc
The forest gives way to leatherwood and flax and then golden tussock tops.