One of the best little treasures of the West Coast, this sweet little orange hut sits nestled near the summit of Mt Brown. Unlike most NZ backcountry huts, which are managed by the Department of Conservation, this one is run by a community trust, giving it that special something. I can think of no better spot to enjoy a good Scotch on a cold winters night than snuggled up infront of this hut’s adorable firebox, stocked with coal flown in by local volunteers. Nawww.
The hike up, although brutally uphill, only takes most people around three hours, and you get to watch the forest change as you climb. You start out in lush West Coast beech forest, dripping and mossy and every kind of green, ascending to a canopy of Dracophyllum trees reminiscent of a Dr Seuss novel, with their puffs of long hanging leaves, and eventually coming out of the bush altogether to stunning views as you cross tussock grasslands to the hut. To the West are the snowy peaks of the Southern Alps, to the east Lake Kaniere stretches out beneath you, and beyond that, views up and down the coastline. Yes yes yes!
One of the most beautiful moments of my life was sitting on the summit of Mt Brown awaiting the dawn. As I sipped my hot coffee and pulled my down jacket tighter around me, I heard a male kiwi call in the distance. Then I heard a female respond, in the valley below. A short while later, the male called again, a little closer now. Then again the female, and they rallied back and forth below me for a solid hour, that little dude getting nearer and nearer his mate. Just as the peaks alit in alpenglow, they called for the last time, and my heart swelled with joy.
You should definitely check out this spot!
Written by my very inspiring, great friend Tarsh – an amazing adventure ‘goddess of the mountains’.