Tribulation Hut

Tribulation Hut

Tribulation Hut is a small musterers hut in Hakatere Conservation Area tucked away in a valley behind the popular skifield Mt Hutt. With it’s proximity to Christchurch and the length of the walk is so short it makes for an ideal trip to leave in on a Friday night and return on a Saturday back in town in the early afternoon.  The track is relatively easy going with small sections of the track overgrown with matagouri. Further on from Tribulation Hut there is another backcountry hut, Cookies Hut which also has 6 bunks. If you’re intending on staying at Tribulation Hut and it’s a full house, you can always walk another hour and possibly find a hut for yourself. Tribulation is an easy way to escape into the wilderness and turn your usual two day weekend into what may feel like a three day weekend.


3 hours


10 km


626 m



Ed, Richard and Kevin preparing for the hike back from Tribulation Hut

In Detail

Along most of the track, it’s relatively easy to find your way along the track with the occasional time that you may have to look at the track to find where a diversion has been made. The track takes you through the backcountry of mid-Canterbury along a fenceline with sheep and cattle grazing. It’s not the most glamorous countryside but the fenceline proves a great guide at night. With the walk into Tribulation Hut being only 3 hours and then an hour or less onto Cookies Hut, the hike gives a great introduction for those looking to delve deeper into the backcountry.

Walking back towards Redcliffe Saddle
Richard walking along towards Redcliffe Saddle

Getting There

From Christchurch follow SH73 out towards Arthur’s Pass. As you are heading out there is a turn off towards Hororata from West Coast Road onto Bealey Road. Take the first exit at the roundabout and follow the signage that says Lake Coleridge, Rakaia Gorge. Follow Cordys Road onto Milnes Road, soon after you come onto this road, there should be a 5-way intersection which should intersect with Leaches Road. When you get to the end of Leaches Road it goes over SH77. Take a left turn here and head over the Rakaia Bridge. The turn-off that you must make is onto Blackford road. The road is sealed until you reach Double Hill Run Road. At the time of hiking, there was a notice upon the road that there had been washouts and advised for four-wheel drives only. Note that Google Maps suggests a different route to the one described above.


The track starts right before a long bridge across Redcliffe Stream. There are a number of spots around the area which you can park. The start of the track is muddy and boggy through the bush. It’s far easier to walk through the bush at the start to find a point where you can walk up along the riverbed to avoid the bush and mud. The markers are reasonably well placed and the track was mostly easy to follow through the bush however it was vastly overgrown in many places.

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Redcliffe Stream

The track begins just before a concrete bridge on Double Hill Run Road. A gate marks the start of the track where there are a number of car parking spots off the road or in the entrance to the gate. The track begins by leading through a section of mud-logged track enclosed by a lot of bush. I found on the return journey it was easier to follow the river until next poled marker to avoid mud-soaked boots. The track rises and falls throughout the first section of the bush. It follows Jacks Stream before climbs to a small tight ridge before dropping down again to rejoin Redcliffe Stream.

Crossing Redcliffe Stream
Top: Ed and Richard crossing Jack Stream
Bottom: Sunset setting in as we neared the top

Bush Ascent

After a long gradual descent from following Jack Stream comes to the climb to Cookies Flat. There is a 300-meter climb marked along the fence line. It’s littered with plenty of matagouri and soft ground along the near Redcliffe stream as you ascend. Much of the track is in need of a trim back which does at times to make the climbing just a little harder. During the ascent, you get your best views out over towards Lake Coleridge, Peak Hill and Craigieburn Range.

Top: Looking across towards Black Hill Range at sunset
Bottom: Ed closing in on the top of the plateau as we followed the fenceline right the way up to the top

Redcliffe Saddle & Cookies Flat

The walk along the flats is straightforward. The lie of the land is open and vast making it easy to find your way, even in the dark. By sticking close to the fence line you’re able to follow the orange poled markers right the way to the hut. There were a couple of key waypoints that we found were helpful to keep us on track to the hut. The first was the style that we had to cross with the gate and the second being the crossing of the swift river. It’s almost a good idea to rock a pair of hut sandals for this crossing, from the river it’s only a ten-minute walk until you reach the hut.

Top: Richard and Ed with their head torches beaming as we picked up the pace along the flats
Bottom: Ed jumping across stile as we entered into Hakatere Conservation Park

Tribulation Hut

Tribulation Hut was a very accommodating and cosy musters hut with six bunks with a nearby long-drop slightly down the track towards Cookies Hut. There are a sturdy table and a couple of benches that make a great spot for a communal dinner along with a number of candles and hooks for hanging up any gear. We took water from Swift Stream not aware of the presence of livestock slightly up the outlets of one of the streams. The water seemed totally fine to drink, none of us felt any kind of sickness soon after. I would have taken slightly more caution had I known about the livestock and carried a water filter.

Bunk Beds

6 Bunks


Toilet, Mattresses



Tribulation Hut, a very comfortable nights sleep

From Tribulation Hut it doesn’t take long to get to Cookies Hut for a visit if you are keen to extend your walk. It’s only at the most a 2 hour return walk but quite easily less if you head out light and fast taking only the essentials for a quick trip. One of the members of this trip, Kevin took the opportunity to check out the hut while the rest of us rested up before a hike back to the car. He explained that Cookies Hut was very similar to Tribulation Hut apart from the fact that it had a fireplace and a woodshed out the front.

Top: Our groups mess the morning after a late nights arrival to Tribulation Hut
Bottom: Ed having a good read through the hut book

Return Journey

The return journey the next day is much easier going in the daylight. Following the track was proved to be no challenge at all for the entire journey back to the car. Crossing the swift river without getting our boots wet proved to be far easier than the previous night. I hadn’t realised the land was farmed along the plateau, shattering my dream of a wide-open tussock covered land. Along Cookies Flat to Redcliffe Saddle there wasn’t as much matagouri. All the places where which there was Matagouri, we were easily able to avoid it.

Top: Looking back on Tribulation Hut
Looking back from where we had come on the second day, the green pasture to the right is all farmed

Both to and from Tribulation Hut took roughly around the same time, we possibly walked a little faster on the night in trying to get to the hut before it was too late. It was still slightly faster on the way back. Both ways we cut half an hour from the suggested DOC time of three and a half hours with ease.

Top Left: Descending from the plateau down along the fence line
Top Right: Richard walking through the long grass, the track was reasonably visible
Bottom: Ed and Richard walking back along the final stretch to the car, the end in sight