IntroductionThis is a bookable serviced nine-bunk hut in the Christchurch and Banks Peninsula area. Easy access from the Kaituna Valley means this hut is suitable for small children and family groups.
Easy walk from road end
- Toilets - non-flush
- Water from tap - not treated, boil before use
Sections of Te Ara Pātaka are on private property and may be closed or have detours in place for lambing between August and October.
More information can be found on the relevant track pages.
This hut is in a low open saddle on the ridge between Mt Bradley and the Remarkable Dykes. It can be seen against the skyline from many parts of the reserve and the Lyttelton Harbour basin. From the hut there are sweeping views of the entire Lyttelton Harbour basin, including Lyttelton Harbour and the Port Hills opposite.
Packhorse Hut makes an excellent introduction to overnight tramping for families and youth groups. The hut is above 450 m in altitude and can get chilly at night, even in summer.
- Take a cookstove, sleeping bag and toilet paper if staying overnight. These are not provided.
- Water is available from rain-fed water tanks which should be treated or boiled before drinking.
- Non-flush toilets are available for hut users and day walkers.
- A woodburner is available and firewood is supplied for use in the burner only.
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 (built between 1918 and 1948) in Cashmere, the Sign of the Packhorse (1914), Sign of the Bellbird (1914) and Sign of the Kiwi (1917). These buildings 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 distant Southern Alps.
The hut has regional importance for the development of tourism and in particular the opening up of Banks Peninsula, the doorstep of Christchurch.
All hut users need to book via the DOC online booking system.
Monday to Thursday
- Adult (18+ years): $25 per night
- Child/youth (5-17 years): $12.50 per night
- Infant (0-4 years): free
Friday to Sunday
- Adult (18+ years): $30 per night
- Child/Youth (5–17 years): $15 per night
- Infant: (0-4 years): free
Backcountry Hut Passes can be used at this hut.
Fees to camp at the hut
Fees to camp at this hut are paid using hut tickets.
- Adult (18+ years): $10 per night
- Youth (5–17 years): $5 per night
- Child/Infant (0–4years): free
Before you go, buy 1 Standard Hut Ticket (blue for adults, red for youth) for each night's stay. Put this in the honesty box at the hut.
Bookings are required all year to stay at the hut. Bookings are not required to camp at the hut.
A $10 service fee applies to phone and in-person booking. This is a limited service – book online first. An in-person booking is dependent on there being space available.
Your hut booking is for any bunk bed, not for a specific bunk bed – select your bunk bed on arrival.
Tracks to this hut
Gebbies Pass to Packhorse HutLocated in Banks Peninsula areaThis track has the lowest elevation gain of the tracks to Packhorse Hut. It's part of the Te Ara Pātaka/Summit Walkway.1 alertDuration 2 hrs one wayDifficulty Intermediate
Kaituna Valley Packhorse Hut TrackLocated in Banks Peninsula areaThe walk to Packhorse Hut can be enjoyed as a half day walk but is also a great overnight tramp for families with children and new trampers.1 alertDuration 1 hr 20 minDifficulty Intermediate
Te Ara Pātaka/Summit WalkwayLocated in Banks Peninsula area and Christchurch areaEnjoy magnificent views over Banks Peninsula, the Canterbury plains, Southern Alps and Pacific Ocean on this track, which is about an hour's drive from Christchurch.1 alertDuration 2-3 daysDifficulty Intermediate, Advanced
NZTopo50 map sheet: BX24
Grid/NZTM2000 coordinates: E1575199, N5161096
Te Ara Pātaka/Summit Walkway cannot be walked completely from end to end (Gebbies Pass to Hilltop) during lambing season.
All tracks cross private farmland, so keep on the marked tracks and respect the working operations on the farms. Leave gates as you find them, taking extra care in large groups. Do not touch farm animals where present including lambs and calves. Give all animals plenty of space.
It is strictly forbidden to take dogs on to private property without prior permission from the landowner.
Mice in hut
There are mice present in this hut and their numbers increase during the warmer months of the year. We recommend you secure your food overnight to prevent mice from getting into it.