[UPDATE January 2006: Loveridge Hut has now been removed by DOC -- Ed.]
I have just returned from an overnight at Loveridge hut in the Kahurangi National Park. I thought I'd share this experience with other members as there doesn't seem to be much information available on this particular hut and the track that leads to it.
Access is by turning right off the Motueka Valley Rd on to Baton Valley Rd and then onto the gravel for around 10-15km. Once you've reached the Baton River crossing, walk or drive across it (you'll need a 4WD) and then follow the 4WD track for about 3km where you'll find the start of the walking track that will take you into Flanagan's or Loveridge hut.
The track starts by crossing the Baton River again, but this time using a swing bridge. The walk up the Baton River is very pleasant with many deep swimming holes along the way. It's not an ideal walk to take children on as there are a lot of steep drop offs into the river below and the track has slipped into the river in a couple of places. After walking approx. 2.5km you'll find Loveridge Creek on your right. This is where you leave the Baton River and head straight up a steep spur that will take you to Loveridge Hut. It's approximately an 800 metre climb over 2.5km from the Baton River up to Loveridge hut which is perched at around the 1200 metre A.S.L. mark. For those of you that arrive there early enough and are still feeling fit, it's another 400 metre climb over 1km up to Loveridge Peak which is situated at 1586 metres A.S.L. We decided to do it the next morning as the three of us had run out of steam by the time we'd reached the hut.
We weren't expecting Loveridge hut to be very big, but I must admit we were surprised to find it only had two bunks and not enough room to swing a rat let alone a cat. One of our first priorities was to try and kill some of the many cockroaches that had infested the place, this activity carried on long into the night and early into the next morning as did throwing anything available at the hungry mice (I was wondering why they hadn't eaten all the cockroaches!).
The water supply is out of a creek (very low volume) that is situated around 50 metres away from the hut. Information on how to find it is in the hut book. There is a plastic 20 litre container under the bunk that seemed to be fairly clean so we filled that up rather than having to make more than one trip to the creek.
On a more positive note there are great views from the hut and even better views if you make it up to Loveridge Peak which is well worth the trip.
It's not a trip that I would do twice but if you're looking for a challenge and you want some peace and quiet (I can pretty much guarantee you'll have the hut to yourself !) It's a great place to go.