Up, up and at ’em
Traverse Hut, formerly A-Frame Hut, sits forlornly atop the Ruahine Range, looking out over the Hawke’s Bay. Unfortunately, it has been consistently vandalised over the years due to the ease of access offered by the 4WD track leading directly to it. That’s led DOC to remove all facilities and the hut is now used for shelter.
But don’t let that deter you. The walk in makes a fantastic day trip.
The track meanders along a relatively flat gradient for a few minutes, and then the hill starts. It holds no mercy as it climbs steeply the entire way to the hut.
Luckily, there are enough stunning sights for a photo stop or two to catch your breath. Indeed, it’s the picturesque nature of the track that makes it so worthwhile for me – make sure you look around from time to time as you don’t want to miss some spectacular views across the farmland to Dannevirke and beyond.
The track is easy to follow and has no junctions, however, there are a few spots that are overgrown. If you feel like you are heading in the wrong direction, stop and look around for those often elusive orange markers.
After two hours of climbing, the track opens up and a panoramic view of the Hawke’s Bay welcomes you to the tops. Traverse (A-Frame) Hut suddenly appears, its red roof contrasting starkly against the bright snow (in winter) and muted hues of green shrub and brown tussock.
Sadly, the hut is in poor condition with broken windows allowing the wind to whistle through. Beer bottles cluttered the floor, graffiti adorns the walls, cracked spouting hangs off the roof and peeling paint completes the look. That said, it’s better to be inside than outside and it still makes an effective shelter for the exposed location.
Retreating to the car park is a much faster trip, taking just 90-minutes. The track isn’t technical and I didn’t find the descent too hard on my knees. Nearing the car park, the trail does get a bit steeper and the rocks are loose underfoot, so tread carefully.
All in all, Traverse Hut is a pleasing half day hike with enough variation to keep the trek interesting. Though a short hike, it’s still challenging enough to give you a feeling of satisfaction at completing it. It’s a shame the shelter itself is derelict, worn and weathered. I’ve heard talk of removing access for vehicles, which would probably reduce the vandalism, however that is unlikely at this stage.