Boundary Creek Hut

Boundary Creek Hut

Boundary Creek Hut is an old Musterer’s Hut in the Hakatere Conservation Area which can be reached by bike or on foot. The trail follows mellow terrain through barren landscape making it an ideal introduction to bikepacking in the backcountry. Although it’s not a smooth maintained trail if you’re someone that Mountain bikes regularly you won’t find riding this track challenging. The track is rough and would not be considered a cycling trail rather it’s an offroad vehicle track. With some Mountain Biking experience, a knack for getting off the beaten trail, the trail into Boundary Creek Hut is a perfect starting point. Kit yourself up with a set of bike tools, spare tubes and pump for this bikepacking trip. If riding into Boundary Creek Hut isn’t enough of a challenge, follow the track on to Potts Hut.


2 h 15m


13 km






Grade 3

Looking back towards the carpark on the return journey | @inspired_by_the_outdoors

43°35′18″S 171°09′15″E

In Detail

Not to be deterred, as a hiker Boundary Creek Hut is a great option in the winter. It does take a while longer (around 5 hours) to reach the hut and the terrain you could find the scenery dull. For outdoor enthusiasts that enjoy taking their dogs into the backcountry, dogs can be brung into the area as long as they remain under effective control. Although DOC has given this ride a Grade 2 mountain bike rating, Trailforks has given the ride a Grade 3 rating which I believe is much more suitable for the riding you are up for. The time given above is a generous time. If you are a competent, fit mountain biker you may be able to make it into Boundary Creek Hut in just over an hour.

Mum descending down towards Boundary Creek Hut the South Ashburton River Hakatere seen centre frame | @inspired_by_the_outdoors

Getting There

From Christchurch follow State Highway One towards Rakaia. From Rakaia take a right onto Elizabeth Avenue (where the Mobil gas station is). Take a left at the round-about onto Railway Terrace East and follow the road. This soon becomes Thompsons Track. Continue to follow the road until you reach a turn-off to Tramway Road, this will take you into Mount Somers township. From the township follow Ashburton Gorge Road until you reach the turn-off to the gravel road, turn right onto Hakatere-Heron Road and follow it until you reach a small gravel car-park marked by a small sign at the start of the trail. It’s easy to tell if you’ve gone too far. There is a bridge that crosses the Ashburton River- Hakatere South Branch which you must make a hard right on.


The route into Boundary Creek Hut is reasonably easy to follow with no off-track navigation required. Most of the route is marked by orange polled markers. If the track ever starts looking too undefined it’s probably because you have strayed too far from the route. The route begins by following the Te Araroa Walking trail until you reach Paddle Stream. The track then joins with a vehicle track leading to Boundary Creek Hut. The track takes you through an open valley before slightly ascending to a narrow plateau. Travelling through the valley is quite muddy in places. From the end of the narrow valley, there is a quick and rough descent down into Boundary Creek Hut. Alternate access for motocross bikes begins further down Hakatere-Heron Road where the marked vehicle track begins.

[wp_mapbox_gl_js map_id=”3090″ height=”800px”]



Car park

As mentioned in the Getting There section of this post, the track begins in a car park before the bridge over Ashburton River- Hakatere South Branch. The gravel car park is marked by a yellow AA road sign with Te Araroa trail marked on it. Nex to the car park you should find a DOC sign with a few times to places in the area. The times are all for hikers, however, the distances are helpful. If you’re thinking about walking this track and you maintain a walking pace of 4km/hour it should only take you 3.5 hours.

Top: Nathan (The Author) riding up to the bridge across
Bottom: Thomas getting on the bike checking his bike is good to go

Te Araroa Junction

The first section of the ride follows the Te Araroa walking trail. There is an alternative starting point for those with motorbikes further up Hakatere-Heron Road that you can use, however the extra distance on a bike is not worthwhile. The track rough but flat. Much of the time the trail is littered with rocks among the dirt and tussock. The first section of track is more technical riding with some hard bumps and plenty of annoyingly large rocks. The first significant milestone to look out for along the trip is the crossing of Paddle Creek. Turning right at this point takes you along the vehicle track into Boundary Creek Hut meeting up with the alternative starting point.

Top: Thomas at the start of the track with the DOC sign
Middle: Mum and Dad riding alongside the Te Araroa Trail as we made our way towards
Most of the track is a worn-down single track carved by walkers with the odd few rocks to negotiate | @inspired_by_the_outdoors

Boundary Creek Hut Vehicle Track

Although the vehicle track is unnamed on the map it is the main route into Boundary Creek. An alternative route can be taken from the Hakatere Potts Road car park past Mystery Lake and down Potts Hut Track. There is one turn-off along the way is for Te Araroa through-hikers who diverge from the vehicle track taking them through to Lake Clearwater. Milestone number two along the trail is a small climb up to a large U bend in the track. It’s a great place to stop, re-hydrate and grab something to eat. From this high point in the trail, you get a splendid view over the distance you have covered.

Mum reaching the distinctive high point on the track before the valley begins, Paddle Creek can be made out slightly off centre of the frame | @inspired_by_the_outdoors

The next section of the track takes you through a narrower plateau before descending down to Boundary Creek Hut. It’s a lot smoother riding along these sections of the vehicle track. Unfortunately, with smoothness mud. There are a few puddles you ride through along with some muddy patches. If we could we would attempt to ride off-track through the tussock to avoid these sections of trail. Many of the larger puddles were easiest to suck up and ride through. Often it was more likely that you would get more wet walking through them. The trail is certainly not well-groomed in places, at times there are patches where tussock has grown over the wearing of the track and it can be difficult keeping your wheels in the right position.

Mum followed by Dad crossing one of a few waterlogged puddles along the track | @inspired_by_the_outdoors

Descent to Boundary Creek Hut

The final milestone and possibly the most rewarding is the descent into Boundary Creek Hut. It’s a solid drop that can be a little rough with all the loose rock along the track. Before long you can see the hut, then it’s just around a couple of bends and you’re there. Partway down, the track to Potts Hut meets with the small section of track that leads down to Boundary Creek. A small khaki DOC sign marks the start of the track up towards Potts Hut and Mystery Lake. The next day you forget how fun the descent was as you brace yourself for the climb even though it was well worth it.

Top: Dad getting some speed up along the trail down towards the hut| @inspired_by_the_outdoors
Bottom: Mum taking it a little easier on the downward slope | @inspired_by_the_outdoors

Potts Hut Track

Our original plan when undertaking this trip was to continue on to Potts Hut from Hakatere if we were feeling up to it. Running behind time we decided against it, however, in the meantime, Thomas and I explored what would have been the route onward from the hut. On a bike the initial climb from Boundary Creek Hut is steep. The loose rock and dirt underneath your feet don’t make the climb any easier at all. Before long we were both pushing our bikes up the granny gear hill to get up towards the Dogs Range. We decided to turn back before the intersection with Mystery Lake Link Track. Riding back down was far more exciting than the grind up and took far less time.

Top: Nathan pushing his bike up the hill along the Potts Hut Track from Boundary Creek Hut | @inspired_by_the_outdoors
Bottom: A panorama taken from the highest point we reached along the track | @inspired_by_the_outdoors

Boundary Creek Hut

Boundary Creek Hut is an old Musterer’s hut in Hakatere Conservation Area fitted with eight bunks, mattresses and a fireplace. Running water can easily be sourced from Boundary Creek right outside the hut. We completed the trip over an Easter Weekend and shared the hut with another group taking out all of the bunk beds. Judging by the hut book and the location it seems like there wouldn’t be an issue to bring your bikes inside the hut. A few hundred metres away from the hut there is a long drop toilet (can be seen to the left of the hut in the picture below) and plenty of room for camping.


8 Bunks


Heating, Mattress, Toilet, Fireplace



Top: Boundary Creek Hut basking in the afternoon sunlight, it was pretty toasty in there but not for long
Middle Left:
Dad and Thomas fix one of the bikes for a flatty that we got on the way over
Middle Right:
Mum having a quick read of the hut book
Looking out over the hut, creek as the evening draws to a close

An open cast fireplace is located opposite the bunks in the hut. As a basic hut, there’s likely to be little supply of firewood over the winter months. If you’re after some warmth over these colder months I would suggest carrying it in yourself. With the hut being so close to the river we found that there were a few sandflies that buzzed around during the cooler periods. They’re not terrible enough that you would want insect repellent desperately, but you would notice them. In the winter months, you wouldn’t notice them at all in the much cooler nights.

Top: Sunset out over the mountains towards the Dogs Range
Middle Left:
Boundary Creek Hut with it’s DOC name badge | @inspired_by_the_outdoors
Middle Right:
Looking through the small window over the hut to the sunset
Almost a full moon shining brightly during the night| @inspired_by_the_outdoors

Return Journey

The return journey begins with a few mellow metres before climbing up towards the plateau at 940m. There are a few larger puddles just up from the hut the like the one shown below. The puddles were all rideable although if you rode through you were guaranteed to get your feet wet. The loose gravel isn’t the easiest to climb on, your wheels are almost destined to slip at some point. Eventually, each of us bailed out along the climb pushing our bikes up to the top.

Top: Nathan (the Author) riding one of the many puddles along the ride back to the car | @inspired_by_the_outdoors
Middle Left: Think I found the pot of gold
Middle Right: Thomas muscling his way up towards the top at 940m
Bottom: Double rainbows were at least one thing we could appreciate while we were on the granny gear u the hill

Returning through the valley there is a slight descent over the entire trail helping the ride go by a little faster. The climbing was spread out largely over the first day and the gradient you lost came from the drop into the hut. The wind made a bit of a difference along the ride. Equipped with a tailwind it was easy to ride back towards the car. We did strike a bit of rain that night and the next morning which made the trail a little softer and the puddles a little larger although the conditions provided the previous day’s views in a completely different light.

Top: Riding through the valley as the clouds roll in over the area once again | @inspired_by_the_outdoors
Middle: Mum looking out over Paddle Hill Creek | @inspired_by_the_outdoors
Nathan (the author) making his way back along the track with the floor pump to fix dad’s flat tyre | @inspired_by_the_outdoors