Up to the Challenge (Part Three) – Macaulay Valley

“On a Mish” #357 Up to the Challenge – Part Three. Macaulay Valley / Lake Tekapo. Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park. 6.11.2022. The taste of success can sometimes seem too tough to tackle and you just turn to disappointment instead. For many years I felt like I needed to go out and get somewhere wild or climb something high, and then the swing of a fridge door extinguished everything… or so I thought. For a couple of months after smashing my hip I felt my days in the mountains might be over, then a little white truck rolled up and rekindled the flame of adventure…

Since hurting my hip I have somehow (Adam’s Jimny) managed to still get to some of New Zealand’s most pristine spots and as we drove up to the front door of Macaulay Hut I could tick off another epic part of Aotearoa. The hut was occupied by three fellas who were rapt to have the massive “lodge” to themselves. The stone hut is a fine achievement and one of the nicest backcountry huts I have seen. A trip to Macaulay Hut should be on most outdoors people’s destination lists.

In classic Adam & Mark style, after a yarn we then bid our new outdoor mates goodbye and started to look for a place to set up our own camp. We like to be self-sufficient, and staying in a hut just isn’t our thing. While hanging out at Macaulay Hut I had seen pictures of the valley’s original hut, which was located back down the valley. We checked the map and worked out roughly where the hut used to be, and then set off with a new challenge to overcome.

Finding the location of the former Waterfall Hut was easier than we thought due to the obvious cut of a road / track up to a terrace that overlooked the valley right beside a waterfall gully. We bounced our way over to the track and once upon the terrace we found the hut’s concrete foundation and the odd bit of 2/4 timber. The spot was extremely epic and it was obvious why the OG hut was built there. After setting up camp we spent a very pleasant night up on the terrace and enjoyed the views that adventurers of the past would have experienced .

Early-ish the next day we reluctantly packed up and then headed back over to the track back down the valley. During the evening we had discussed the idea of coming to places like the Macaulay and fixing / marking the tracks. We put the chat to work when we came across a large washout. Adam got on the tools and dug out a ramp, and then very carefully tested his work. The half hour or so of work had shown us what would be involved in the future and we are excited about the potential side-hustle, but for now we had to get back to the real world.

We rounded the bend in the valley / river and said our goodbyes to the grand upper valley and hello to the turquoise colours of Lake Tekapo. It was when we got back to the road that Adam realised the steering wheel alignment was way out, a sign of the rough travel up the valley and hopefully something that can be fixed easily. Now with the village of Tekapo in sight we could tick off Macaulay Hut and we could also say that even though all of the others had bailed out we (and the mighty Suzuki Jimny) were definitely ‘Up to the Challenge’

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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