Benmore Hut

Benmore Hut

Benmore Hut is one of the most accessible huts in Canterbury from Christchurch. The small, three bunk hut is tucked away in Thirteen Mile Bush backing onto Korowai Tussocklands Park. The short walk without considerable elevation gain makes it an ideal option for younger children, or even just as a day hike to get amongst the bush.  From experience the hut can be reached from the car park within one and a half hours at a quick pace. Usually this is split: half an hour along the flats of the vehicle track, with an hour through Thirteen Mile Bush to Benmore Hut. If you are hiking with children, it could potentially take up to two and a half hours into the hut – although faster on the way back. 


1.5 hours


5.65 km


310 m





Looking across the tops of pt1623 towards Foggy Peak after a hike up from Benmore Hut | @inspired_by_the_outdoors

43°20′35″S 171°44′35″E

In Detail

This post is an accumulation of three different trips I have taken into Benmore Hut. Its ease of access, proximity to Christchurch and variation in the terrain makes it an incredibly easy trip to get-up and go for at the drop of a hat. My initial visit to the hut was an impromptu one, with a plan devised in an hour and the team out hiking a mere two hours following the thought conception. Most photos from this post were taken on a half-day loop trip that took us from the first carpark to the start of the Annavale Track and up to the summit of Sugarloaf. From Sugarloaf we began our descent, following the Benmore Link Track to Benmore Hut, returning out via the Benmore Track.  All-up this loop took us around four hours. .

Looking out across to Foggy Peak from the Benmore Hut carpark for 2WD vehicles and SUV’s

Getting to Benmore Hut

To reach the start of the track to Benmore Track you’ll need to find your way to Benmore Station, just out of Springfield. From Christchurch take State Highway 73 (SH73) west. After you pass through Springfield you will soon cross a bridge over the Kowhai River. The road bends left, and you’ll be on a long straight as you approach the Canterbury foothills – located just before the next bend is Benmore Station. Make a left-hand turn here. There is a second bridge, old and wooden, that will take you over the Kowhai River once again.  Make a right-hand turn at the T intersection and you will find your way to the first car park. 

Benmore Hut Route

The route into Benmore Hut is easy to follow.  Even with the limited markers placed along the track, it has been well cut through the forest. Initially from the 4WD track you’ll travel through blackberry bushes alongside Thirteen Mile Stream. Blackberry bushes recede into tussock and long grass before reaching the forest of Thirteen Mile Bush. The stream must be crossed on entry to the bush. The trail zigzags upstream for a while, before hitting a steep ascent for a short time. The trail flattens out and is rather mellow for the rest of the walk into the hut with a few muddy patched and side streams to hop over along the track. 

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Korowai Tussocklands Weather

Getting into Benmore Hut is an all-weather trip which can make for an ideal Plan B no matter how bad the forecast is – if you are willing to tough it. The hut has a wooden fire which would ensure that you’re warmed up and toasty on a cold night. Ensure that you take a good windproof layer if you are planning on heading up onto the tops. The Benmore Range and surrounding hills near the hut are the first range of mountains easterly front over the plains, often a hefty amount of wind can pick up around the tops of the mountains.  

4WD Access to Benmore Hut Track

After you turn off the main highway to Benmore Hut, you’ll find yourself on the Benmore Station’s property and driveway. Follow the road over the bridge, taking a right when you reach the T intersection. Drive slowly and respect the landowners. It is a privilege to have permission to access this land. A DOC sign handily marks out when you have reached the level dirt carpark provided. A gate can be opened which takes you through to the 4WD track. I have taken the car down this track over two trips into Benmore Hut. During the first trip the car almost got stuck in mud. The second trip left the car damaged, with the window at ground level and only one of four wheels still touching the ground. Hence, I will always vouch for walking. 

Top: The Carpark and DOC map located behind the wired deer fence
Bottom Left: The road back in ’17 dried out with large potholes along the way, the furtherest one where I got stuck
Bottom Right:
Nathan standing in the pothole where the car got stuck

Walking the Benmore 4WD track

As mentioned earlier, the hike from the carpark to the trail head adds only an extra half hour at pace. Usually, you will find rain puddles to dodge and jump along the way. At times the track can become washed out from mud puddles like the one below, eroding good chunks of the ground underneath your boots.  Continuing here you’ll reach the most difficult section of track to keep your feet dry. Close to the start of Benmore Track is a crossing of Thirteen Mile Stream. Just before you reach the beginning of the track, either slip your trainers off, get your long jump skills into action or a pair of soggy shoes/boots awaits you. 

Top: Conor taking a leap trying not to get his shoes wet along the vehicle access easement across Benmore Station
A 4WD spotted at the start of the Benmore Hut track which made it across the land.

Berry Picking

During the During the mid to late summer season, you can find wild berries along the track into Benmore Hut. Sitting ripe for the picking within an arm’s reach of your hike, they’re incredibly tasty and plentiful with few customers. Grab a handful, pack a container and get amongst the berries. They’re most certainly free for all. 

Top Left: Ben picking out a black berry that he was pretty chuffed with
Top Right:
Diving deeper in the bush trying to get bigger juicer berries along the way
Ben with a good handful of berries that he were very much enjoyed before a good day mission through the bush

Benmore Hut Track

  The track into Benmore Hut begins through long grass that leads to the beginning of Thirteen Mile Bush. Although it may be difficult to locate the markers, you can be sure you will be able to follow the trail running through the blades of grass.  

Ben and Conor making their way through the initial grass and tussock section of the track (on the return journey)

Next, you’ll have to duck under an old wire fence strung between the trees to enter the lush forest. This runs alongside the river with at least two more stream crossings that need to be made on your adventure. Soon after the final crossing there is a steep ascent that will take you up approximately 80m before you the track levels out once again. From here on your walk ascends gently, becoming slightly steeper as you close in on Benmore Hut. A highlight along the way is a rope abseil/climb crossing over a small side stream. 

Top Left: Conor playing hopscotch across the stream
Top Right:
Looking through the fern fronds as the trail winds alongside the Thirteen Mile Bush Stream
Bottom Left:
One of the mud clogged sections along the track to Benmore Hut
Bottom Right:
The track as it closer into the hut flattens off and leads

Benmore Hut

Benmore Hut is a homely spot that I have stayed at twice and visited once. It’s a special basic backcountry hut that is maintained by the Canterbury Deerstalkers association, with all the necessities and more for an enjoyable stay out in the bush. There are three bunks within the hut but enough room to easily squeeze another two people on the floor if necessary. Amongst the bush there are plenty of spots where you could pitch a fly tent between the trees. Water is collected from the roof of the hut and stored in a tank with a pump action tap. As always it is recommended to boil the water, however, personally I find it relatively safe to drink from the tank. 


3 bunks


Mattress, Fireplace, Water, Toilet



Top: One of the most iconic and welcoming hut interiors that you can stay in, cozy and relaxing in and amongst the bush
Looking through the bush to the classic wilderness long drop

Whilst you’re residing at Benmore Hut take the time to rest and relax. Stack up some wood from fallen branches that have fallen around the hut. Tucked just inside the shelter, you’ll find a couple of wood saws and an axe itching to be used. Put the fire on and make yourself at home. If you’re after a further adventure, there are three additional trails to explore that lead out from the hut in a + shape.  During the roar season (around April) it’s likely that the hut will be occupied with hunter’s, stalking during the deer and stag’s mating season. 

Top: Ben entering the hut to check it out for the first time, followed by Conor
Conor showing how to really chop wood, even with an incredibly blunt axe

Tracks & Trails from Benmore Hut

From Benmore Hut there are several different trails that you can follow that will take you near and far. Some of these trails are unmarked and it’s helpful to have a map with you to be able to figure out where you are heading. Whether it’s climbing to the top of one hill to the east, another to the west, or an alternative route back to the car, there are plenty of options and reasons for a second or third trip back to Thirteen Mile Bush. 

Ben taking a moment to admire his surroundings. Foggy Peak and the Torlesse Range pictured in the background

Annavale Track

The Annavale Track begins just after the start of the Benmore Track. It runs up to the top of a mountain by the name of Sugarloaf, known on the map as pt1211. It also serves as an alternative approach to reaching Benmore Hut if hiking via the Benmore Hut Link Track, which connects Benmore Hut and the Annavale Track together. Beyond the link track turn off you’ll continue climbing on up to Sugarloaf, or the peak known as pt1211, where you’ll find the marker as your guide. If you continue you will reach a further, smaller peak that goes by pt1203. On this trip with Ben & Conor when many of these photos were taken, we climbed Sugarloaf before descending back via Benmore Hut. For further details on the Annavale Track, check out its post. 


2.5 hours




609 m

Middle: Nathan with his foot atop an old summit marker for pt1203
Bottom: Looking back down the Annavale Track as Ben and Conor descend towards the Benmore Link Track

Benmore Hut Link Track goes between Benmore Hut and the Annavale Track. DOC shows that it is supposed to take 50 minutes, however, it’s likely to only take you around half an hour on a quick descent. The track is relatively fresh and has only recently been cut, resulting in some patches around the open shrubs that can be difficult to navigate. The path woven through the forest has existed for a while longer, as an exit out onto the tops for hunters staying at Benmore Hut. Orange poled markers can be seen along the tops whilst orange triangle markers are spread consistently throughout the bush right the way into Benmore Hut. 


50 mins


1.6 km


143 m



Clockwise from Top Left
Ben and Conor making their way through the low lying scrub
Further along the shrub and low lying hills looking out towards Mount Benmore
A fallen tree along the track that stood between us and making it through to the hut
Ben and Conor making their way through the forest while the fresh bright orange markers guide the way

Mount Benmore

Mount Benmore is an unmarked unnamed trail thMount Benmore is an unmarked, unnamed trail that leads north-west from Benmore Hut heading onto the tops as you tick off pt1444, pt1623 and pt1660 along the smooth, undulating hills. Although I personally haven’t gone any further than pt1660, Mount Benmore can be reached by carrying onwards and upwards. The hills give great views out over the Canterbury Plains as far as Banks Peninsula when the weather is clear. As you make it onto the flat summit points of the mountains the winds can be strong overhead. Ensure that you take a windbreaker or raincoat to avoid its bite if you’re planning on a mission up to the top. Ensure that you have at least one bag in your party with emergency gear, raincoats, and any other essential gear with you if you’re heading for this climb. Leave all your other gear back at Benmore Hut. 


2 hours




737 m

Nathan making his way up towards pt1623, Mount Benmore seen in the background

The route through to Mount Benmore is steep and unmarked right through to the tops. The trail is relatively easy to follow with the track well cut. A bountiful backdrop of old man’s beard hangs down from the trees as you get closer to the edge of the bush line. Once you hit 1280m elevation, you are out in the open and free to roam to your heart’s content. Following the ridge, you’ll find yourself climbing higher up towards the summits. If the weather clouds over and closes in, it can be rather difficult to find your way back along the ridges back to the bush line where you last left the track. Ensure you keep a compass with you or a GPS to navigate back in case of poor weather conditions. 

Top Left: Old Mans beard hanging from the trees one of the beauties that makes up a Goblin Forest
Top Right:
Nathan partway up the track towards pt1623 admiring the old mans beard
Middle: Nathan taking a moment to pause along the way up towards the the summit pt1623
Nathan making his way down back towards Benmore Hut. Annavale Track seen making its way up towards the summit of Sugarloaf

Benmore Hut Crew

On three occasions I have visited Benmore Hut. Once in 2016, ’17 and ’21. It is yet ‘til now that I have managed to accumulate a set of photos that I am proud of, attributing to why it has taken me so long to share this spot with you all. There are plenty more adventures to be made here so I’m sure I’ll be back someday. Many thanks to my younger brother for working with me to get my car unstuck from the divot, Kevin for committing to last-minute adventure plans and Conor & Ben for following tracks with faith in lieu of direction.  

Top: Left to Right Nathan (the Author), Ben and Conor in front of Benmore Hut
Bottom Left: Kevin splitting wood in front of Benmore Hut back in 2016
Bottom Right: Thomas making his way along the across the tops of the Benmore Range