I accidentally set my alarm for the wrong day. Tunupo was originally on the agenda for the day but missed the opportunity with my wee sleep in. A change of plans was in order. Luckily I had a backup plan for such an occasion (I knew it’d happen eventually). A Frame Hut, while a bit further afield was still within the time frame available to complete before dusk. Plus, if I am being honest, I felt like a bit of a shorter hike after the last few weeks of long hikes and even longer work hours.

a frame hut map

Quick Stats

Hike Stats

Time 4 hours return

Access The end of Tamaki West Road just south of Dannevirke

Difficulty The track is not difficult to follow and isn’t as technical as some backcountry tracks can get. However, there is a fair bit of elevation gain.

Fitness Moderate

Elevation Lowest point 309m, highest 1040m

Hut Stats

Facilities None, they have been taken away due to vandals

Sleeps None, this hut is no longer available for use other than shelter from a storm or passing by

Booking Required N/A

Fees N/A

A frame hut, ruahine range, new zealand

The Track up to A Frame Hut

From the carpark head across the creek to the clearing. The track to A Frame Hut starts just after the clearing past actual loos that flush and everything. Woah! From there it meanders along a relatively flat track for a few minutes. Then the hill starts. It holds no mercy, much the same as any typical Ruahine Range track. It climbs steeply pretty much the entire track up to the hut.

The track is a very pretty serene track. The start of the track is littered with the remains of autumn leaves. The leaves slowly thin out and rocks take their place. Mud replaces rocks and eventually snow carpets the track. It is a varied track with plenty to keep it interesting.

Make sure you keep looking up periodically and not just at where you are putting your feet. You will miss some spectacular views across the farmland to Dannevirke and beyond.

It took about 2 hours to get to A Frame Hut from the car and that was with a couple of mandatory photo stops. I had to try out my new camera. Obvs. You’ll be pleased to know it works. When you push the button it takes a photo and everything. Pretty flash. No pun intended.

I started seeing snow at about 800m above sea level. For some reason, I wasn’t expecting to see snow. I’m not sure why, it surely has been cold enough for it. I think it was because when I hiked Field Hut and Table Top (read about it here) the previous week there was no snow in sight and Field Hut sits at about the same altitude as A Frame Hut.

Snow on the track up to A Frame Hut, Ruahine Range

A Frame Hut

A Frame Hut is a hut in the Ruahine Range that sits around 1000m above sea level. It is… wait for it… an A Framed Hut. Unfortunately, it is a hut that has been consistently vandalised over the years due to the 4WD track up to the hut. It is the only hut to have access via a vehicle in the Ruaine Range so as a result, it gets used frequently. DOC (the Department of Conservation) have removed all facilities and it is now just used for shelter. You can’t stay in this hut which is a shame. It would make a wicked hut to stay in, especially in winter.

I had a look inside the hut and was saddened by what I saw. Broken windows, beer bottles littering the floor, graffiti all over the walls, cracked spouting and peeling paint. It really is just a shell now.

the inside of a frame hut, ruahine range

Back Down Again

Going back down was much faster going than up. That’s not always the case, but this track wasn’t too technical which made it much easier. I only slipped a couple of times. Which is pretty good going for yours truly. It took about an hour and a half to get back to the car again from A Frame Hut.

I must admit that when I first started seeing scatterings of snow on the way up, I had mixed feelings. The first was child-like glee. The second was a sinking feeling. Deadman’s Track was still fresh in mind. Thankfully the snow was not deep and was firm underfoot. No sinking today. Well. No sinking in the snow. Just in the mud.

The downhills weren’t too hard on the knees, although towards the end it does get a bit steeper and I was practically running. I don’t like running. Even downhill.

Top Tip:

There are a few spots on the track that are a bit hazy direction wise. If you feel like you are heading in the wrong direction, stop and look around for those often elusive orange markers. They are usually there to point you on the right track. Sometimes it’s a bit like playing Where’s Wally, but they will be there.

The track to A Frame Hut

Final Thoughts

A Frame Hut was a lovely half day hike with enough variation to keep the trek interesting. Though a shorter hike, it was still challenging enough to give you that feeling of satisfaction. The hut itself was a sad sight, but unfortunately, the more accessible a hut is, the more likely it is going to get vandalised. Which has ruined it for everyone else. There has been talk of removing access for vehicles but that is unlikely at this stage. It is still a worthy hike up to the hut, however. Just keep your spray cans at home.

For more photos go check out that Facebook Album, the one with all the A Frame Hut photos in it.


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A Frame Hut sits on the eastern side of the Ruahine Range in New Zealand's North Island. A worthy half day hike up the mountainside to the derelict hut watching over the valley. Find out hiking stats and more in the post

A Frame Hut sits on the eastern side of the Ruahine Range in New Zealand's North Island. A worthy half day hike up the mountainside to the derelict hut watching over the valley. Find out hiking stats and more in the post

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