TRACK GRADE: Tramping Track
WALKING TIME: 2 hours to the hut (4 - 6 hours return)
FEATURES: Beech forest, Alpine tarns, birds, alpine plants, historical hut, views of the Waimakariri Valley. Option to climb 1545m hill from hut with spectacular 360º views (requires an extra 1.5hrs return).
HUT: Bealey Spur Hut. 6 bunk basic hut (free). Mattresses, water tank + very smokey fireplace. Recommended to carry a tent as can be very popular.
MAP : NZTopo50: Otira BV20 (NZMS260: Otira K33, Wilberforce K34)
LOCATION:Track starts at the end of the Bealey Spur settlement road, 15km East from the Visitor Centre. Look out for baches on the hillside, just past the Bealey Hotel. Park your vehicle in the car park provided near the highway then walk up the "private road" to the start of the track.
MAP: Click Here to open PDF File (660Kb).
DESCRIPTION: A gentle climb up the Spur, passing through Mountain Beech forest, wetland and tussock to the historic musterer's hut.
1545m Hill: In fine weather (good visibility) it is possible to climb beyond the hut to the top of the spur. There is no marked track, however a track does lead from the hut door, through a swamp, skirting the left side of the beech forest, then follow the rocky ridge to a cairn (pile of rocks) that marks the summit. Allow about 45 minutes one-way.
Return EXACTLY the same way.
The Hut: The hut was built by Walter Taylor and Harry Faulkner, owners of Cora Lynn Station in 1935 and used as a base for Cora Lynn's high country muster of the "Powers Country" which grazed up to 6000 sheep. It is also known as Top Hut and in the past has been know as Musterer's, or Top Horse Hut. Remains of corrugated iron dog kennels and the horse/sheep holding paddock fence are in the vicinity of the hut. Use of the hut for mustering ceased when the land was retired in 1978 and added to Arthur's Pass National Park.
Bealey Spur Hut is a beech sapling-framed; corrugated iron-clad hut with a wooden floor. It has an open fire with a flat tin chimney and there are six spring mesh bunks attached to beach pole framing. These replaced the original uncomfortable diamond-mesh netting and chaff sack mattress bunks that the musterer's had to endure. These were said to be "almost as hard as a fakir's bed of nails".
There is no window (although there is evidence that there was once one in the south wall) and daylight to the interior is provided by a sheet of corrugated Nova light in the roof. Tank water is available and a pit toilet is nearby. The hut was painted for the first time (by persons unknown) in 1997.