Outside Rocks Ahead hut
Image: Andrej Recnik | Creative Commons
Rocks Ahead Hut is located on the true left bank of the Ngaruroro River at the mid-eastern boundary of the area known as the “Manson Country”. Its river bank location makes for a popular rafting and kayaking stop-over.
Rocks Ahead Hut was built in 1960 by the former NZFS to aid deer culling operations. The hut is maintained to the original NZFS standard, offering a comfortable base for hunters and anglers. At 700 metres altitude, this hut is positioned on a sloping site immediately above the river and is fairly sheltered from the strong westerly winds. The hut can experience a wide range of climatic conditions which can include brief snowfalls during cold southerly weather and heavy winter frosts.
There is a helipad located 20 metres from the hut. Flight availability and costs can be obtained from helicopter concessionaires in the central North Island.
From Manson Hut a marked, then poled, track heads north climbing up to Mt Manson (1448 metres altitude) before circling east around Spion Kop main ridge. The track then descends steeply down to Rocks Ahead Hut via the cableway over the Ngaruroro River. Caution should be applied to travel in this area, especially the open Manson Tops, when poor visibility is often accompanied by high winds and cold temperatures.
To reach Rocks Ahead Hut from Kiwi Mouth Hut
Via Manson Hut: A marked track crosses the Ngaruroro River climbing to Manson Hut (2.5 – 3.5 hours).
Alternative Longer Routes (5 hr and up to 10 hr):
Via Back Ridge Bivouac (5 hr): Depart Kiwi Mouth Hut and climb north east up onto Back Ridge to reach the Back Ridge Bivouac/Rocks Ahead track junction (4 hours). Turn left here and travel downhill to reach Rocks Ahead Hut (1 hour).
Via Ngaruroro River (up to 10 hr): This is a challenging walk following the Ngaruroro riverbed and should not be attempted in higher water flows.
Tira Lodge (Venison Tops) (1.5 – 2.5 hr): A marked track from Tira Lodge crosses open sub-alpine country for 20 minutes before descending a long ridge through beech forest to reach Rocks Ahead Hut (1.5 – 2.5 hours).
Rocks Ahead Hut provides trampers with an excellent base or stop-over point to explore the western areas of the Kaweka Forest Park.
From Makahu Saddle carpark, trampers can travel to Back Ridge Hut (3 – 4 hours) over the main Kaweka Range and then onto Rocks Ahead Hut (3 hours) via Back Ridge Bivouac.
Alternative and more adventurous approaches can be made from the north, via Middle Hill Hut then through Ballard/Venison Tops or Makino/Mangaturutu/Venison Tops. From the south, access can be made from the Cameron carpark via Kiwi Mouth.
NZMS Map 260 series U19 & U20 and the Kaweka Recreational Map 274/12 can be purchased from:
NZTopo50 map sheet: BJ37
Grid/NZTM2000 coordinates: E1884381, N5647476
Before you go, buy 1 Standard Hut Ticket (blue for adults, yellow for youth) for each night's stay. Put this in the honesty box at the hut. Or buy a Backcountry Hut Pass that gives unlimited use at most Standard and Serviced huts for a 6 or 12 month period.