1945 – 1969 John Tait Hut

Rain isn’t the best way to start a days walk but in this case I had to deal with it as I had to catch up with Silvan at John Tait Hut.

It wasn’t even very hard until I got to Lakehead Hut. Quite nice in fact with the clouds obscuring and revealing different parts of the landscape.

Once past Lakehead Hut though it began to rain in a slightly steadier manner making the Travers River rise and some of the side streams more interesting to cross. I think if it had only been a little harder then then track would have become impassable as there was only another foot of riverbank to go before some serious flooding started.

Of course the rain stopped as I got nearer the hut. Typical.

So here I am. In fear of catching the ongoing Norovirus outbreak and listening to the still roaring river from my tent.


  • This whole area is really nice for hiking. Lots of TA walkers went on little side trips.
  • Not good is winter, avalanche warning signs everywhere (including at the hut).
  • The entire Norovirus outbreak was attributed to one family. They tracked them up into Abel Tasman. Wash your hands.
  • Thank you to the volunteers from Nelson region who banded together to clean the huts with disinfectant.

John Tait Map

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1910 – 1945 St ArnaudĀ 

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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