Date: 05 March 2010
An official opening has been held to celebrate a new Red Hills Hut in Mt Richmond Forest Park that is on the national Te Araroa tramping trail.
Red Hills Hut is the southernmost hut on the Mt Richmond Forest Park section of Te Araroa (the Long Pathway), a 3000-kilometre tramping route from Cape Reinga to Bluff that will fully open within a year. Te Araroa Trust Chief Executive Geoff Chapple attended the opening on Friday 5 March, of the new hut.
Department of Conservation Nelson Lakes Area Manager Alison Rothschild said the new Red Hills Hut replaced an older hut, built around 60 years ago, which had been in very poor condition.
Red Hills Hut
“This new Red Hills Hut was built especially with its use as overnight accommodation on Te Araroa in mind. It was important to provide for an overnight stopover in this locality given the length of time it would take to walk between the nearest accommodation to the north and south on the trail.
“The hut is named for the nearby red hills which are part of the Richmond Range’s mineral belt. The hut provides a good base for exploring the remarkable ultramafic geology and studying its distinctive plant life.”
Geoff Chapple said the Te Araroa Trust was thrilled to have the new hut and it would encourage New Zealand trampers into one the strangest landscapes in New Zealand - the fabulous Red Hills.
“I've tramped this area, and I love it. It's seabed rock that's become embedded in the continental crust. World-wide that's rare, and the red hills baffled geologists from Dr Ferdinand Hochstetter in the 1860s on for 100 years, until tectonic plate theory provided an explanation. The new hut is a wonderful stopping point from which to explore this bare and beautiful landscape."
The new hut is clad externally in coloursteel with a plywood interior. The walls, floor and roof are well insulated with foam and fibreglass batts, while the windows are double glazed. This ensures that the hut remains warm given its location at 910m.
The hut is the last of the 16 huts on Te Araroa's 110-kilometre north-south traverse across the Richmond Range, the trail’s longest and most demanding section with summits consistently above 1500 metres. Track connects Red Hills Hut with State Highway 63. Trampers going south from the road end take roadway to St Arnaud Village where the trail then follows the Travers/Sabine Circuit through Nelson Lakes National Park and then on into the St James Conservation Area.