Image: Andy Thompson | DOC
Packhorse Hut is on Te Ara Pātaka. This section of the track is closed for lambing from 8 August – 15 October each year.
Year-round access to the hut is possible via the Kaituna Valley Packhorse Hut Track.
Situated on a low open saddle on the ridge between Mt Bradley and the Remarkable Dykes, the stone hut can be seen against the skyline from many parts of the reserve and the Lyttelton Harbour basin.
This hut was planned as part of a series of rest houses built by Harry Ell for a proposed summit route from Christchurch to Akaroa. Only four houses were ever built, all in local stone, including the grand ‘Sign of the Takahe’. The Sign of the Packhorse, Sign of the Bellbird (1914) and Sign of the Kiwi (1917) were designed by Samuel Hurst Seager, one of the earliest architects to move away from historical styles and seek designs and plans with New Zealand character.
Being built of stone, Seager was able to blend the houses into and harmonise them with the surrounding landscape. During construction, materials were delivered to the Parkinson homestead in Kaituna Valley and then taken to the pass by a sledge towed by a team of six bullocks. It was originally thought the rest house had been built on land donated by William A. Gray, later it was discovered to be on freehold land held by Cyril and Ivor Gray. They agreed to gift 1434 sq m to add to the scenic reserve and secure the rest house onto public land.
The hut is built of locally quarried volcanic stone with timber joinery – windows on three elevations – affording remarkable views of the Scenic Reserve, Mount Bradley, Lyttelton Harbour and the Southern Alps in the distant west.
The hut has regional importance for the development of tourism, and in particular the opening up of Banks Peninsula, the doorstep of Christchurch.
NZTopo50 map sheet: BX24
Grid/NZTM2000 coordinates: E1575199, N5161096
The Packhorse Hut is a bookable hut. All hut users will need to have a valid booking via the DOC online booking system. If you want to use a Backcountry Hut Pass or hut tickets as payment, make a booking through the Christchurch Visitor Centre.
Bookings are not required to camp. Pay by hut ticket or Backcountry Hut Pass.
Book Packhorse Hut online, or contact Ōtautahi / Christchurch Visitor Centre.
If you want to use a Backcountry Hut Pass or hut tickets as payment, make a booking through the Christchurch Visitor Centre.