Balloon Hut

#71 – 30th January 2016

This fantastic hut sits in the most beautiful location, nestled amongst the golden grasses of the Kahurangi Tablelands. Its a 14 bunk hut with sleeping on two platforms with a spacey living area and awesome decking!! There is gas heating (although at the time of writing this I believe its being replaced) and gas for cooking.

You can reach this hut from the Cobb Valley side in approx. 2-3 hours or its a 5.5 hour walk from Flora Valley car park. It’s located 1.5 hours from Salisbury Hut on the Tablelands circuit – a top circuit for the Kahurangi National Park with heaps of stuff to see!! I always rave about this national park in terms of its wildlife. I’ve been around a few parks and forests countrywide now and this one is always teeming with life. Weka, robins, native snails, whio and more! Its so cool to see, and I imagine its largely a product of two visually obvious working groups at force in the area; ‘Friends of Flora’ and ‘Friends of Cobb’.

Anyway, I believe this hut is the second/third to be built here on this site, the first built in 1909 (built by gold diggers), second in 1963 and the upgrade (rebuild?) in February 1995. There is a heap of history in the area and you will be able to read all about it on the boards at the hut. The landscape itself is ancient. Skiing even used to occur on Mt Peel (just behind the hut – well worth climbing) before it was decided the walk was too arduous and skiing moved elsewhere to Mt Roberts.

I visited this hut as a side trip off the Tablelands Circuit and we shared it with an awesome couple from Sweden 🙂 They had come through from the west coast on a multiday trip through the Leslie – Karamea and Whangapeka routes, and were planning to restock in the Takaka area before heading back to the west coast via the Heaphy Track 🙂 We bumped into a heap of others day tripping on the way out too 🙂


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