Leave Our Forest Alone – Kiwi Burn Hut

“On a Mish” #113 Leave Our Forests Alone! Kiwi Burn Hut. Snowdon Forest Conservation Area. 23.10.2013. I remember visiting this excellent little hut, located in the pristine bush of the Snowdon Forest, during the times of the tunnel, gondola and monorail proposal. Building what was needed for the monorail would have destroyed not only the pleasant stroll to a classic kiwi backcountry hut, but also the surrounding forest, as vehicle access would be needed for each pylon for the monorail’s tracks. Right from the start of the adventure there was a strong sense of the anti-monorail battle being fought by the good folks campaigning against the idea, beginning with angry stickers on the tracks DoC Sign…

Starting from a small car park just off the Mavora Lakes Road there are two options to get to Kiwi Burn Hut, as the track can be turned into a loop. I started with the flatter Mararoa River route (turning left after crossing the swingbridge) which quietly weaved its way through the delightful riverside beech forest, until a right hand bend takes you into the quiet surroundings of the Kiwi Burn Valley. There had been heavy rain earlier that day (with light drizzle still falling), and crossing the rivers just before the hut was a soggy affair. As I approached the rain free comfort of the hut I really hoped there was dry firewood as it began to rain heavily again. Due to the weather I wasn’t surprised to find the hut was empty, and luckily there was some dry firewood ready to light. So in no time I had a warm hut and my dripping wet boots doing their best to dry out beside the hut’s roaring fire. The hut was stacked with anti-monorail pamphlets explaining how devastating the idea would be to the beautiful area, especially in the Kiwi Burn Valley. It was a real eye opener to how lucky we are to have so many beautiful wild places in New Zealand with only a foot track and series of small huts. So, so much better than roads, big hotels, monorails, gondolas, civilization etc. I loved this fact when guiding on the Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s biggest glacier. The massive glacier has some of the most spectacular mountains in Aotearoa / Planet Earth, including the biggest mountains in the country Aoraki/Mt Cook(3724) and Mt Tasman(3497m), and after being dropped off and the chopper flew away there is nothing but mountain silence and undisturbed natural beauty.

Bridge over the Mararoa River

After an excellent night’s stay at the Kiwi Burn Hut, an early-ish start the next morning had me travelling further up the Kiwi Burn Valley towards a small saddle and the track junction with one track heading north into the Upper Whitestone Valley, and the other back to the swing-bridge at the start of the track. This is where I turned right, and slowly made my way back down through the forest to the car park. After the experience I knew I must do everything I can to make sure they leave our forests alone! Apart from the track being a little bit boggy near the hut, it is an easy overnight hike that the whole family can enjoy, and will hopefully remain in a quiet untouched beech forest for many, many generations to come!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

Subscribe To my newsletter