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Three Mile Stream Hut, Lake Sumner Forest Park

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May 2022 Issue

A weekend tramp to a seldom-visited hut in a hidden valley, surrounded by high bush-clad mountains in the beautiful Lake Sumner region.

The western approach to Three Mile Stream Hut from the Hurunui River is best accessed by either 4WD or mountain bike from Lake Taylor. This negates a long road walk-in past Loch Katrine. 

Once in the Hurunui Valley, a poled route runs up the valley to Hurunui Hut and its nearby swingbridge. Over the swingbridge, marked routes head further up the valley, down to the lakehead, and north-west up McMillan Stream which is the easier approach to Three Mile Stream Hut. 

After crossing the bridge, take Hope Kiwi Track for 500m and then turn left onto Three Mile Stream Track. This track continues alongside McMillan Stream through forest to the toe of a spur coming off Macs Knob. 

The track swings to the north-east and follows the streambed, alternating with short marked sections through easy gorges involving multiple stream crossings until the upper valley is reached. 

A low pass at Pt839 is accessed up a steep spur where the track passes through bogland, forest and open tussock until Three Mile Stream is reached. It’s then an easy wander to the hut, sitting on a terrace back from the river. The hut has memorable ambience and is divided into three rooms, a design typical of many huts in the Lake Sumner area.

There is a spacious river flat extending out from the hut terrace and back into the north branch of Three Mile Stream. 

Three Mile Stream Hut is set on a terrace above the stream. Photo: Pat Barrett

Downstream from the hut are two tracks – the first crosses the stream and heads through Parakeet Valley to Hope Kiwi Lodge in the Hope Valley. This is the much longer option to return to Lake Sumner via the Lodge and Kiwi Saddle and would take a full day. The regular route is to continue on down Three Mile Stream until the track begins to climb up and away from the riverbed on the Three Mile Stream Route. This trail eventually gains a high shoulder at 800m before descending steadily over broad terraces to the Kiwi Saddle Track, and soon after the extreme head of Lake Sumner.

If the Hurunui River is low, a lot of time can be saved by heading directly across the lakehead, over flats and through swampy gullies to Home Bay and the 4WD trail once again. There are great views along this section.

Total Ascent
The Canal to Hurunui swingbridge, 1.5hr; To Three Mile Stream Hut, 4hr; To The Canal, 5.5-6hr
Three Mile Stream Hut ($5, seven bunks)
By 4WD to The Canal north of Loch Katrine, or mountain bike to Hurunui River Swingbridge

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