Post-lockdown time warps us back 20 or 30 years to a quieter NZ - before tourist numbers were so high. There's an abundance of local adventures to fill your bucket list. Best we take advantage of them I reckon, it’s amazing out here, err there.
First up, an accessible get-away on bikes, with hot pools, classic backcountry huts and the upper Hurunui River in Lake Sumner Forest Park. This trip ticks all the boxesfor backcountry goodness. Any car will get you to Lake Taylor. A mildly capable vehicle and some skill will get you to the locked gate at Loch Katrine.
From there pedal your way past Lake Sumner and up the Hurunui River Valley to a choice of huts and the hot pools. We had a wonderful stay at Hurunui No. 3 Hut. I definitely recommend making the effort to head a little bit further up the valley to enjoy this classic hut jammed with backcountry charm.
You can travel on either side of the Hurunui, but if the river is low then it's worth getting your feet wet and crossing to the true left, then following the old 4wd farm track all the way to the hut.
On the way up, or back, or both, take a dip in the fantastic hot pools. Find them roughly halfway between the Hurunui Hut and No. 3 Hut on the true right of the river. A small X marks the spot on your topo map. They are perched part way up a rock cascade overlooking the main river.
Like any good backcountry traveller, be prepared with knowledge, gear and practice as this is not a ride in your local trail park! You’ll be rewarded in nature and proud of what we have at our own backdoor.
The drive in
It's a 'wet feet' kind of adventure
Mid ride soak
The ride in
Hurunui No. 3 Hut
The ride back out to the perfect post-ride picnic spot
Packed up and homeward bound