Over the weekend my family and I went up to the Hopkins Valley (which is by Lake Ohau, New Zealand) for a few days of tramping in the wilderness.
When we got there it was super windy and was starting to rain a little, so we pulled on our raincoats and packs and started our walk into the Valley.
Hopkins Valley is in the Ruataniwha Conservation Park which also extends into the Huxley Valley (where Dad and I walked in 2015). There are quite a few tramps, 4wd tracks and even bike rides you can do in the area. We decided to walk up the Hopkins Valley to Red Hut. Which is about a 3 hour walk up a riverbed in the valley.
As we started walking, we crossed the river and didn’t go to the first hut in the valley, which is called Monument Hut. As we walked up the valley it started to get really, really windy and rain was hitting us straight in the face. Every now and then a huge gust of wind would blow sand and stones off the riverbed and it would feel like needles piercing our legs!
We had to do quite a few river crossings which was fun except for the wet and cold feet! There was one quite strong river, that we all linked arms and crossed together.
As the rain started coming down and our feet cold and soggy from the dozen river crossings we had down, we set sight on Red Hut.
It was tucked up off the riverbed, in a grassy knoll up against the mountains. With 12 bunks in two separate rooms, a fire, table, bench space for cooking, long drop toilet (which was surprisingly alright. I hate long drops, so it wasn’t that bad seeing as I didn’t complain once about it!) It was quite a nice hut to stay in for the night.
We played Phase 10 and K’s and A’s in the evening and Ash and I somehow fell asleep listening to ‘ The Ricky Gervais Show’ with Ricky Gervais (duh), Steven Merchant and Karl Pilkington.
The next day we left the hut around 10am. It was starting to spit and we had put back on our wet socks and shoes from the day before as we had to cross the river again. We decided to go up the Huxley Valley because the weather was forecast to get worse and it meant we didn’t have to do any more river crossings. We got to the edge of the bush and had some morning tea before setting up into the bush towards the Huxley Forks Hut.
My little brother was leading at one point and managed to take us on a detour through a bog thing, which was full of moss, I didn’t really like it, as it kinda reminded me of Devils Snare in Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone, and I felt like we would get sucked under it! Irrational I know.
Around 12pm we got to a fork in the track where it joined the Huxley Forks track that Dad and I had walked two years earlier. We stopped and had some Pita Pockets for lunch, in a little rocky alcove above a swing bridge.
While we were there we decided to turn around and go back to the truck instead of carrying on to the Huxley Forks Hut as we were damp, a bit chilly, and the weather didn’t seem like it was going to get any better.
We started the walk back to the truck with a single person swing bridge which Dad and I had done before. The first time I did it, I wasn’t too keen about it but this time was a breeze crossing it. Still a bit weird at the end of it where it starts climbing upwards, but I obviously survived the crossing!
The walk back took us 2-3 hours and we stopped a few times for a scroggin or photography break.
And of course as we were on the final leg of the walk, with the truck nearly in our sights, we saw the sun for the first time on the whole trip…But thats just the way it works!
I’m glad I had been there before and it had been superb weather, so I didn’t feel too robbed of a trip. it was also my first tramp I’d done in the rain so that’s always an experience. I highly recommend the Hopkins or Huxley Valley if your into Tramping. There’s some incredible views and quite a few huts to stay in that are dotted all over the valley.
Let me know if you’ve ever tramped there and what you thought of it or if you haven’t where’s your favourite place to go if tramping if it’s something you like to do!
Thanks as always for reading 🙂