The Stewart island Southern Circuit?
Greetings People, Three of us will be walking the Stewart island Southern Circuit at the beginning of September. I have been to Doughboy Bay and Masons Bay a few times but have not done the walk in Winter/Early Spring, so a couple of questions: Could anyone offer a guess if the Rakeahua and Doughboy Huts are likely to be full of hunters in the first few days of September? Should we carry bivy bags and a fly just in case? Are there any dryish spots for camping under a fly between Rakeahua and Doughboy Huts? Any information about the walk would be much appreciated. Thanks, Alan
I don't know about when hunters are there but I would carry shelter as a matter of course in case of injury. There is a really nice and obvious campsite between Doughboy Bay and Rakeahua on the final flat section of Rakeahua R. just before you start to climb up towards Doughboy Hill. It is right by the track and is mentioned in the Rakeahua hut book I think.
Hi Honora Many thanks for this - much appreciated. Would it be possible to get an approximate date grid reference to indicate how far along the track it might be? This would help when planning the day. Thanks again Alan
The campsite grid references are round about: NZTopo50: CJ08 E1203557, N4781203 NZMS260: D49 E2113419, N5343372 It took us 3 and a half hours to walk from this campsite to Rakeahua Hut. I don't think you'd have any problems finding other places to camp along the way at most points and plenty of scope around the hut but that was a lovely campsite.
Thanks very much Honora, Alan
In October 2013 my niece and I walked the Southern Circuit. Thought we were at the end of the world looking down on Doughboy Bay. We weren't. A group of 4 hunters had flown in and taken over the hut for a week, flying in everything plus the kitchen sink. I think it's common on Stewart Island for a few groups to fly into a DOC hut and overstay. I've edited my post to remove the vitriol. In this instance, we ran into a group of inconsiderate, immature people who had overtaken a hut and were not welcoming to other hut visitors. In addition to me and my niece, another party of 3 were at the hut; it was chocka. I, too, have encountered many more good people than bad in the bush, be they hunters, trampers, or cyclists. However, a bad egg can stay with you awhile.
Hi Gregor, Thanks for the comments. I was with group of 5 others doing field work coring trees at Doughboy Bay and had just the opposite experience. The hut was full with a group of hunters and fishermen but they were very welcoming and shared fresh fish with us when it was available. We camped outside and used the verandah to cook in but we all got along very well. But thanks for the warning anyway! Cheers, Alan
My understanding is that groups of hunters are only allowed to stay at the hut for 3 days in a row and must otherwise camp when others are there and want the bunks. Because of this rule, the hunters are generally keen to stay on good terms with the trampers and are proud to share their bounty. We stayed at the old Doughboy Bay bivvy which was chocka but marram grass researchers there allowed us to sleep in the beds for the 2 nights we were there while they slept in their tents which were set up nearby. Very nice when we arrived at dusk during a storm in May.
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