Packhorse Hut - Banks Peninsula
Date: 15th October 2020
Track: Return Kaituna Valley - Packhorse Hut Track
Distance: Just under 4Km
Time up: 1H:30m
Time down: 40m
Grade: Easy to Moderate
Access: From Halswell in Christchurch, take SH 75 towards Akaroa. Take a left onto Kaituna Valley Road. Drive 6KM turning left onto Parkinson's Road.
The day started in Arthurs Pass chasing snow and unexpectedly ended at a Hotel in Christchurch eating wedges with craft beer.
I had a night to kill before my flight back to Wellington the following morning. After a search for huts near me, it was decided using my DOC hut pass, and a 2hour walk was time well spent.
I arrived at the Kaituna Valley carpark just after 3:30 pm and set off 10m later.
The well-signed track makes it way through farmland and climbs steadily from the Kaituna Valley, through the bush and opens up to a grassy saddle.
It took me an hour and a half to reach the hut from the car park. Much sooner than expected. 30 minutes faster than the sign suggested plus I was filming myself along the way.
The stoney red hut looks fantastic nestled amongst the exposed tussock of Kaituna Pass. You can see the Port Hills and parts of Lyttleton Harbour. On a clear day you should be able to see Mt Hutt including the Southern Alps.
The hut itself is very tidy and well maintained. It would be the perfect overnight trip for anyone living in Christchurch seeking a post covid getaway with the kids.
The cozy dining area has a fireplace that was still warm when I arrived, possibly evidence of the southerly that came through the night before. What you see is what you get. Bring your own cooking equipment.
On the other side of the fireplace is a bunkroom that sleeps 9. During the summer months, I'd imagine it would be quite busy on the weekends being so accessible from Christchurch. At the time of writing this post, the hut's been booked out most weekends until late February 2021 so make sure to book in advance!
Camping outside the hut is also permitted, though I'd imagine it would get pretty windy. The hut is bookable online—$15 for adults, $7.50 for youths, under ten free.
Oustide is a toliet, wood shack and a non-treated water tank.
My initial plan was to stay the night at the hut & leave early in the morning, making it back in time for my flight. I hadn't got much sleep the night before, and it was still a few hours until sunset. So I decided to book a hotel and head back to town.