Forest Creek. Bullock Bow Saddle, Bush Stream circuit

Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park

  • 2 – 3 days loop track with a road section
  • Medium

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3 day circuit (1 full day) involving retired pastoral lease runs. Middle section especially attractive as it traverses unfolding rolling country parallel to Bush Stream. Part of this route follows Te Araroa and includes 3 former musterers' hut in the Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Area.

Forest Creek. Bullock Bow Saddle, Bush Stream circuit: Key information
Walking time
2 – 3 days
15 hr – 20 hr
Loop track with a road section
Loop track with a road section
Unsuitable in high river flows. Requires some navigational ability in low-vis conditions. Grades explained
No bookings — open access
No — open access
Forest Creek. Bullock Bow Saddle, Bush Stream circuit: Find it
Forest Stream car park
Bush Stream road bridge
470m – 1,692m
Altitude change 1,222m

Best to leave bike at finishing point for shuttle back to car. From Forest Creek carpark, climb over currently locked pedestrian gate (Duh...) to follow poled route up Forest Stream. Feel free to choose your own route if you prefer. You may at times cross and recross Forest Creek.

At junction of Butlers Creek ascend low terrace on true left to visit plaque commemorating the site of Samuel Butler's 'V' hut. Reverse steps to Butlers Creek and continue upstream. Stone Hut will be noted on terrace on true right of Forest Creek , halfway to Felt Stream junction. This is a private hut belonging to Ben McLeod Station.

Eventually you will encounter the 4WD track that the poles have been guiding you away from. Follow this across Forest Creek to where Felt Stream emerges. You will have travelled a tedious 13km river bash by this stage. The recently cut DoC track through beech forest is marked with poles then intermittent fading orange cruise tape in a poor fashion that leaves you wondering. Take the steeper option at each junction to be eventually reassured that you have made the right choice. Thanks DoC!

When you emerge in open tussock, go uphill until you are above the bushline or shortcut through a gap in the beech forest. Either way, you will sight the next red polyethylene sleeved waratah. Follow these poles above the bushline to the head of Felt Stream. This is a very pretty stream with the odd booby trap speargrass including Scott-Thomsonii.

You may divert to Felt Stream hut which is private and owned by Malcolm and Sue Prouting. Their kind permission can be sought to stay at this hut. I suggest if you do, you bring rat poison with you as it is apparent this is sorely required in its current state and a hearth brush and shovel. The fire smokes unless the door is left ajar. The bunks and mattresses are good and there is an outdoor bath nearby which has received good reviews. Be sure to beat the mats outside, sweep the place out, including mouse shit on bunks and shelves and barbecue! and replenish firewood, including kindling - not like those slack horse trekkers, Duke of Ed students and 4WD'ers that like to stay there and state they have cleaned the hut. Yeah, right!

Follow the 4WD to the saddle, enjoying spectacular views. The odd shortcut can be made with a discovery of huge molar-like snowberries off-route. Once at the saddle, enjoy the new vistas and descend what has now becomes a foot route only to Bush Stream. If travelling to Stone Hut, a very pleasant 2km shortcut can be made via gentle rolling spurs to Bush Stream from the area where the tarns are. The tussock is quite open for easy travel.

No information on the route from the junction with Te Araroa to Royal Hut. There may be a 4WD track running upstream on the true left of Bush Stream. The route will be intermittently sign posted with poles. This hut was visited by HRH Prince Charles at one time. I hope it was in better condition than Felt Hut!

The route to Stone Hut is very attractive and follows Bush Stream. It is crossed a few times. Poles are planted now and again but you will find yourself wondering at times...The hut is up on a terrace and is wonderfully clean with the scent of newly constructed bunks. It has DoC mattresses with the hard side thoughtfully labelled, an open fire with scrub nearby, comfortable chairs around a table and a pantry with a cornucopia of still edible food from former musters with crockery and cutlery. Definitely thanks, DoC!

You will cross a wooden vehicle bridge which is only rated fit for 1 person at a time...scary thought and ascend a 4WD track to sidle and gently gain height to a swampy open basin. The poles lead you on the true right of this to a higher point, and a descent to cross the very scenic Sweeps Stream then some height gain to a saddle for more views before descending to cross the pretty Packhorse Stream. Poles are few and far between so it pays to have a map and a good sense of where you ought to be going. If visibility was poor, the poles would be very much inadequate.

A final ascent is made to a saddle in scree to the north. The route starts on the true right of a small stream which then climbs to cross a small spur coming from the NW and sidles round then descends to the final tributary and a climb on the eastern flank of an open basin to the sighted scree. An obvious animal trail in scree on the other flank isn't used but this route though verdant fell fields in very attractive.

Descend from the open scree saddle into the open tussocked valley leading to the hut. There are good poles to guide you through tussock or you may utilise the scree for a faster descent. From here on the poles become quite frequent. Perhaps DoC may gather up the unused ones stacked in Stone Hut at some future date and utilize them where they are very much required. The tussock opens up a bit and then the track sidles out to a little spur from where the Crooked Spur hut can be seen 100 meters distant.

To be cont’d…








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ID 5277

About this track

Added 7 April 2010 by HonoraHonora. 4 revisions, most recently 7 April 2010 by HonoraHonora.
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