1910 – 1945 St Arnaud 

Left Hunters Hut to go to Red Hills Hut and the day basically consisted of going up and down the valleys of the Red Hills staying above the Upper Motueka River.

There must be and incredible amount of water go through here at times. Some of the side streams we cross are only about four times the size of the stream at home but they have gouged out boulder beds 20-30m wide and 10m deep.

In some ways the track here is more risky that the higher parts with sidling across packed gravel above a long drop being more common than I would have liked. Well. You can’t have everything I suppose.

When we got to Red Hills Hut I was seriously in need of a pie and a beer so I left Silvan there and continued on to St Arnaud meaning to hitch once I hit the road. This was slightly stuffed up by there being no place for cars to safely pull over but I made it eventually. The pie was good.


  • Poles would have been handy on some of the steeper parts of the Motueka.
  • If you are walking to St Arnaud then Red Hills hut is a good place to stay.
  • If you are hitching then stop when you hit the road and stay there. It is the best spot.
  • Some people ran into dogs that tried to bite them while walking the road.
  • The shop is very expensive.
  • There is a DOC campground near the lake which is a lot cheaper than the backpackers.

St Arnaud Map

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1893 – 1910 Hunters Hut

Mid-Wairoa Hut is, of course, at the bottom of a valley. This meant today started  with a long, sometimes precarious, walk up the riverside to Top-Wairoa Hut.

There were some nice waterfalls and in general it was a pretty nice walk although I wouldn’t want to do it in the wet.

Just before getting to Top-Wairoa Hut the landscape changed completely as we had entered Red Hills country. It all looks a little bit martian.

According to Geoff Chapple book ‘Terrain’ the Red Hills are  piece of up thrust mantle. The book also talks about Geoff turning up at the hut only to find he had already been signed in with the comment,”Te Araroa, I’m so sorry for everything” which can’t have been that long ago as the entry was still in the book when we got there.

After that it was up and around the side of Mt Ellis and then a long walk down to Hunters Hut.

In general I am holding together well on this walk but the long downhill parts are beginning to be a bit of a pain in the knees.

Hunters Hut is very nice though and you can sit on the loo with the door open and see the whole valley.


  • The walk up the Wairoa is a little bit dangerous in the wet.
  • There is water at Hunters Hut. Silvan carried water up there from the river and it was a waste of time.
  • The view from the toilet is spectacular.

Hunters Hut Map

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1864 – 1878 Rintoul Hut

That was a seriously amazing day. Currently I am at Rintoul Hut with a small herd of goats, but I started out at Slaty Hut at 7:00am walking along the ridge line on the Richmond Alpine crossing.

(I do believe I have broken my record for the most photos taken in one day as well.)

Why was today wonderful? Well, let me see…

  • The weather was great.
  • The views were magnificent.
  • I survived.

In order of appearance.

The weather today has been blue skies and no wind in the morning building to blue skies with some puffy clouds and gentle wind this afternoon.

In other words, perfect walking weather.

The views were of the Pelorus Valley when we started, with the Richmond Ranges on the other side of the ridge. But as we travelled we got views of the Wairoa Valley, Nelson Valley, the Red Hills, and always as a background the Southern Alps and whatever mountain range lies to the south-east of Blenheim.

As for survival that might be a bit of a heavy word. All I really had to deal with was one small traverse over a 100m drop, lots of broken rock ascents and descents, a lot bit of scree and that was it. More constantly nerve-racking than survival.  I’ll try and find a good photo. 🙂


  • Hiking poles are recommended.
  • Look down at your feet and keep on walking and you will get to the top quicker.
  • I quite like those little black alpine butterfly’s.
  • On the way down Rintoul (down the scree chute) Adele lost her footing and then her way when she missed the track. Be careful.

Rintoul Hut Map

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