A Small Taste of West Coast Tramping – Grassy Flat Hut

“A Mish a Day” #74 Grassy Flat Hut. Kelly Range-Styx River Area. 4.10.2011. If there is one part of New Zealand I’d like to spend a lot more time in its the South Island’s stunning West Coast. With its incredible network of tracks and huts a mountain explorer like myself could spend a lifetime there and still have a long list of things to do! Just before the 2011/2012 summer guiding season I had decided to slowly make my way down the West Coast, with mission stops along the way. Like so many great plans this wasn’t to be and was cut short with the offer of early work in Queenstown with Ultimate Hikes, so I only had a chance to complete one overnight hike.

I headed inland from Hokitika, passing Lake Kaniere and stopping at the entrance to the Styx Valley, then continuing into the valley on foot. The hiking in the Styx Valley is a step back in time as the construction of a road began in the late 1800s, as a way to transport West Coast gold back to the East Coast. The road was far to difficult to complete in the challenging terrain, and abandoned after only a few years of construction. Now days, as you make your way up valley, every now and then you come across old sections of way well graded and wide ‘Road’ along with sections of classic West Coast hiking track. Being the West Coast it was raining as I headed up the valley with the odd view of the snow covered peaks every now and then all the way to the hut. I had the very comfortable hut to myself until about 9pm when a fella and his dog appeared out of the darkness. He was trapping possums throughout the valley and even with the forecasted rain he planned to stay there for a couple of days.

Browning Range from Styx River Track

Was up and gone early-ish as I needed to drive all the way to Queenstown that day and as I made my way back down the valley I was gutted to not be staying longer and exploring the area properly, with that being said by the time I got back to my car heavy rain had set in and that made me feel better.

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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