A seldom used track to a cosy hut in the Benmore range
Benmore Hut (Thirteen Mile Bush ) Location : Approximately an hour & a half out of Christchurch . This seldom used track is accessed through private property, either Benmore Station or Annavale Station. Permission must be sought first. A 4wd is preferable to access the track start. Time : Approximately 2 - 3 hours with a moderate grade Track : The start of the track is somewhat hard to find ,although it is marked with a small white marker buried in the ground on a terrace above the stream by the fence line. Regardless , it is an easy stroll up steam to the bush line & a cattle fence , which is easier to lift & duck under than try to negotiate the fence it self. Markers are easy to follow from here on , with the track meandering up the stream between fern forest & regenerating beech for some small distance. After 15 minutes , the track leaves the stream & a steepish climb begins. From the top, the track sidles above bluffs, though swampy sections & gullies to the hut. Of particular note , are the ropes that some thoughtful person has attached to trees to assist in three of the gullies . From about the halfway mark, the track tends to deteriorate through lack of maintence , recent wind & snow falls, but the markers are easy enough to follow. Although the surrounding hills are hard to see through the regenerating beech which is dominant here, there are many large totaras in this bush with lots of birdlife. Bellbirds are in abundance, with tomits,fantails & kea. Hut: The hut is a small corrugated iron A frame situated in a rough clearing atop a saddle. It contains a 2 person platform &a long sacking bunk, also 2 person. A small coal range type fire, with a new flue, compliments this hut , although somewhat smoky, it helps to keep the sandflies at bay. Water is from a rainwater barrel with a tap, as there no streams close by. The toilet is an absolute classic with the local wildlife feeling free to use it as well. For those inclined, the track,as it is , continues on past the hut, to the tops of the Benmore range .
Honora The track is still clear of windfalls and the fire still smokes according to a couple of young fellas we met coming out. If you pussyfoot around, you'll find you only need to cross that stream twice.
11 July 2012
Honora Permission from the landowner of Benmore Station is not required. An easement has been negotiated with DoC.
From where we parked at the 4WD park, it has taken us under one and a half hours to walk up to the hut.
It is easier to find the start of the track now as gorse has been cleared from an old 4WD track alongside the fence line. A stile enables you to enter the beech forest on the true right of 13 Mile Stream. NZMG E2410553, N5760590.
At time of writing, June 2010, there are no windfalls on the track. The aforementioned little ropes have been installed by Les, who has adopted the hut and are still there.
The toilet has been replaced with a Norski type. The wood stove smoked like buggery when we lit it but in the morning when I lit it but failed to notice the door vents were nearly closed, it also lit but was hardly smoky at all. At the time the stove was quite cold. Make sure you leave the ashes full enough underneath so the heat doesn't go though a vent into the oven section.
There is currently, a very good skillfully sharpened axe there and 2 saws. DoC have cut down a lot of regen in front of the hut that was blocking the view. This hut was built in 1975 by the Malvern Deerstalkers Association. Please treat it with the respect it deserves e.g. clear the accumulated beech leaves from the seive that filters water, keep it clean and tidy: take out your silly tealight candles, used batteries, gas canisters and all the other crap e.g. empty waterbottles, stock up the firewood (not hard) and kindling and sweep the floor, bunks etc. and make sure any pots you used are left clean.
Because this hut is so close to the roadend, it means jerks get to go there but I guess they won't be reading this...
There are 3 DoC mattresses but space on the sleeping platform for another sleeping pad if you've brought one with you.
Les has cut tracks all around the place. It is possible to do a circuit down into the head of the Northern tributary of the Selwyn and right down a gorge to the rain gauge and then up onto the Russell range and down a 4WD track and onto a low forested spur that leads back to the Benmore Hut. There used to be a little hunters' track cut along here. Hopefully it has been maintained as there's a lot of bush lawyer in the forest.
Les has cut or maintained a loop track into the head of the North Branch and back to the hut via a lower track that leads from outside the window by the woodstove. This track used to just go to the old toilet site!
The track to the tops veers off from the higher track that goes to the head of the North Selwyn. At the moment it is subtle and poorly marked at the junction so may be easily missed. There are 2 loppers and a slasher under the platform bunk if you want to do a bit of track maintenance to the tops. Please don't steal any of the tools.
14 June 2010
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Added 22 October 2006 by wolfmanwolfman. No revisions.
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