Woolshed Creek Hut

Woolshed Creek Hut

Woolshed Creek Hut is probably one of the most well known overnight hikes in Canterbury. Located on the fringes of Hakatere Conservation Area it is easily accessible if you are in or around the Canterbury area. The hike is well maintained and is manageable for those with families. If you’re looking for your first overnight hike or taking someone out on their first overnight hike look no further. Woolshed Creek Hut has 26 bunks (one room with 10, another with 16) perfect for trips with big groups. In the surrounding area, there are so many spots to explore including a number of water caves, waterfalls and smaller peaks to climb.


2 hours









In Detail

In recent times the Department of Conservation has made Woolshed Creek Hut a bookable hut, meaning that if you are planning on heading into the hut you must book your bunk in the summer months. The DOC website allows you to check the availability of Woolshed Creek Hut and book your stay. Camping is permitted around Woolshed Creek hut setting you back $5 for use of the hut’s facilities. In the summer there is a hut warden that looks after the hut. The Hut Wardens ensure that all the people staying in the hut have booked to stay the night otherwise you will get kicked out.

Richard and the boys make their way down from the ridge above Woolshed Creek Hut

Getting there


The route described in this article is one that I have completed two of the three times when hiking into Woolshed Creek Hut. There are a number of alternative routes to reach the hut mentioned at the end of this article which can be mixed and matched depending on conditions and the abilities of the party. The route shown below follows the Miners Track up to Woolshed Creek Hut and then returns along the Rhyolite Ridge Track, back to the carpark. Marked on the map there is a further route that leads from the hut and follows the Mt Somers Walkway.

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The Miner’s Track begins from the carpark on the Nor-West side and follows the track on through the forest alongside Woolshed Creek until the track begins climbing. There is a campsite about 5 mins from the carpark under the trees close to the creek marked by a few mining relics. The DOC sign states that it takes 3 hours from the carpark via the Miner’s Track to reach Woolshed Creek. This time is variable depending on the fitness and ability of the group. For some it can take as little as an hour and a half, for others it may take longer.

Walking the first few hundred metres of the Miners Track underneath the Beech Forest

Through the Forest

The majority of the first part of the track is under the cover of beech forest. In winter patches of the forest can be covered in mud and iced over. Wearing a pair of boots in the winter months helps to prevent you from having mud clogged shoes and the extra grip that you may need. In summer the creek is a perfect spot for a quick dip. Waterholes can be easily be acccessed from the track.

Top: Even though it was past midday the ground was still well and truly frosty beneath our feet in the shadows
Bottom: Walking past a number of old mining relics that made up a campsite near the carpark

From the junction where the Miners Track meets with the Sidewinder Track, the track starts to climb upwards towards an old mining site. Out of the first days hiking this is definitely the steepest and most difficult part of the hike, fortunately, it won’t take long before it is all over. As you climb up you begin to get views out over the carpark where you started the day. It’s rewarding seeing the progress that you have made in such a short period of time.

Top: Kevin arriving at the top of the mining site, the crew following
Bottom: Looking out from the mining site with an old relic left for display.


The Old Mining site has a short tunnel with a dolly trolley and the remnants of an old mining shaft carved into the side of the hill. If you’re lucky it’s possible to site Kea (New Zealand Mountain Parrots) hanging out amongst the scenes of the tussock and mining relics. It’s an ideal spot to take off the pack for a few moments, enjoy the scenery and grab a bit to eat and drink.

Breaking out into the tussock laden hills on the Miners Track

From the Mining site, make sure you take the right-hand path from the Miners Track. The track dips in and out of the forest for a short while before gently ascending towards the summit of Point 934. The views looking west over the Arrowsmith Range, and the Manuka Range make you feel at home in the mountains. The track in winter can become when the snow turns the ground to mud.

Top: Richard climbing along the Miners Track
Bottom: Richard trails behind the leading group of the crew as we ascend to point 934 through the tussock fields

Descent to Woolshed Creek Hut

The summit of Point 934 is made from a pile of rocks among a bare patch in the tussock. It’s another break in the trail that makes for a good resting point for food and drink. From the top of Point 934, the trail flattens out for around half a kilometre. From around the 900m elevation point, you can see Woolshed Creek Hut. It is from this point that the descent begins down to Woolshed Creek Hut. The descent doesn’t take long at all. Before you know it you’re sitting outside taking your boots off to get in.

Top: Richard approaching the summit of Point 934 on the Miners Track
Bottom: Woolshed Creek Hut sitting under evening shadows, looking from the last

Woolshed Creek Hut

Woolshed Creek Hut has 26 bunks which are divided between two separate rooms. Sixteen bunks are situated in one room while there are ten in the other. In the summer months, the busy period for the hut, a Hut Warden oversees Woodshed Creek hut. They complete basic maintenance tasks around the hut, check people’s hut tickets for staying in the hut and ensure that everything is under control. As mentioned earlier in the article, you must book your bunk to be able to stay at this hut. The link below under category will take you to the booking page on the DOC website.

Bunk Beds

26 Bunks


Fireplace, Running water, Basins, Toilets, Mattresses


Serviced Hut
(Bookings Required)

The boys gathered around the wood shed at the hut just after sunset


The bunks are arranged in Maori Bunk style with two levels. Each of the mattresses is arranged such that they fit together across the top and bottom. This does mean if you are a larger party and are tight for space, squeezing up is an option for more people to fit. I did notice during our stay that there were a couple of spare mattresses that were stood up next to one of the benches in case someone did not have a bed for the night.

The larger of the two bunk rooms with the mattress’ stowed away for the next visitors


Firewood is available from the woodshed next to the hut and will usually need to be split with an axe. People will usually leave pieces of newspaper or paper packaging to help to get the fire started. Twigs and kindling sometimes can be found around the firewood otherwise explore your surrounding or get creative. Candled can be found in and around the hut, however, they are usually well used. It’s never a bad idea to pick up a couple of cheap candles from the Warehouse and donate them to the hut. Later hikers always very much appreciate the smaller acts of kindness.

Top: The benches for cooking and preparing food at Woolshed Creek Hut
Bottom: Looking across a number of the tables in the huts for eating, relaxing and plenty for plenty of cards games


Running water is supplied to the hut from the collection of rainwater from the roof of the hut and stored in tanks behind the hut. Ensure that when you have finished using the water to ensure that the water is turned right the way off so that the tanks don’t end up running dry. If the tanks have run dry it is easy enough to source water from Woolshed Creek for cooking and drinking. DOC will recommend boiling the water for 3 minutes before cooling and drinking, however water most of the time is completely safe to drink. I don’t think that I have ever followed their guidelines of boiling water, the stream water almost always tastes better than the water coming out of your tap at home.

The outdoor sink area for washing dishes, plates and filling water bottles

Exploring Woolshed Creek

There are so many places to explore in and around the area. Small hills surround the area which you can climb for better views of the area, streams turn to waterfalls and rock formations become caves to explore. There is easily enough in the area to easily spend an extra day exploring Woolshed Creeks surroundings. Below, I have detailed some of the places I have had the chance to explore during my visits to Woolshed Creek Hut.

Looking out up Woolshed Creek from the hut as the sunset begins to fade


There are a number of small hills in the area that makes for a really cool short exploration. From my last trip to Woolshed Creek, we climbed to the ridge behind the hut and watched the sunset over the Arrowsmith range. It’s probably one of the best spots to watch the sunset on a clear evening. The other hill to climb and explore is the peak along from the Mt Somers walkway track heading back towards Pinnacles Hut. At around 1000 metres elevation in the northern direction. It’s most easily described by the dominant looking rock features in the picture above.

Top: The last sun dipping below the Arrowsmiths, the boys relaxing watching the sunset
Middle: All the boys gathered around preparing to descend back down to Woolshed Creek Hut
Bottom: Looking over the ridge above Woolshed Creek Hut

Waterfalls & Canyons

There are a number of waterfalls in the area, however, there is one in particular marked on the map that’s easily accessible. A small goat’s track leads off from the main track down towards the swingbridge. Follow this track around the cliff and down towards the waterfall.


The waterfall forms a lazy pool at the bottom and flows into a large canyon shortly downstream. The waterfall makes for an ideal morning shower in the summer months. It would be sure to freshen you up for the day ahead.

The waterfall that would make for a blissful early morning shower


Woolshed Creek is also a popular spot amongst the canyoning community. Marked by two metal rungs bolted into the rock and a large drop to the stream beneath. Sitting on the edge of the waterfall there a couple of smooth spots in the rock to sit, relax and admire your surroundings. In the winter beware of black ice that forms on the rocks when the temperatures plummet overnight. They can be very dangerous near the waterfalls.

Top: Looking down the canyon from sitting on the edge of the waterfall
Bottom: Sitting on that same ledge of the waterfall looking out over the canyon


If you have carried your packs on the way to explore the spot, I would recommend leaving them at the top of the cliff before heading down. This helps to give yourself some more balance on the scramble down to this spot. From the Miners Track, the goat’s track down to the waterfall is noticeable to those with a keen eye. In winter around the bottom of the falls, large icicles can be found hanging from under some of the overhangs.

Top: Richard walking under one of the smaller rock overhangs before making it to the waterfall
Bottom: Walking back from the canyon and waterfall following the goats track that makes up the ridge

Swing Bridge

The swing bridge is well worth checking out if you aren’t planning on returning via the Rhyolite Track. It spans across an unnamed stream and provides an epic photo opportunity. The bridge is limited to one person at a time so be aware, if you are a large group, or following one, it will take a while before everyone is on the other side. Fortunately, the ridge to the right of the swing bridge provides an ideal spot to avoid everyone getting jammed up.

Woolshed Creek Water Caves

If you follow the Mt Somers Walkway track from Woolshed Creek Hut on towards Pinnacles Hut, following the stream you cross, you will find yourself amongst a trail of water caves. From the stream follow the stream along the grass, looking for Goats tracks and signs of markers in the area. Eventually, you will find yourself clambering over rocks and following your nose up the creek. There is still so much that I haven’t explored with so many waterfalls and arches to see in the area.

The boys making a splash as they explore one of the many water caves that Mt Somers has to offer

Even if you aren’t someone that doesn’t want to get wet amongst the caves, there are still many spots where rocks have bridged with one another forming archways. Some of these spots are marked with red painted dots on the rock to show the way. Still, I am unsure where or what they lead to, however they are well worth checking out.

Top: One of the many red dots that mark a route through the caves and up the streams in the area | @itscaitlinzoe
Bottom: Lauren crawling through a few of the rocks that make up some of the small caves around Woolshed Creek and Morgan Stream | @itscaitlinzoe

Return Journey

There are a number of routes to return from Woolshed Creek, as there are to arrive at the hut. On the way back we followed the same track that we came in on. The Miners Track. This made for a quick trip out having us back at the car in just over 1.5 hours. A more common approach is to take the Mount Somers Track followed by the Rhyolite Track, back to the car park. On this occasion, with the limited time, we just decided to stick with the Miners Track.

Mount Somers Track – Rhyolite Track

Of the three times that I have hiked this track, I have read returned via this track on two of the occasions. It’s definitely a step-up in difficulty compared to the Miners Track but gives you a different perspective on the area. There are a number of iconic features along the way that are well worth the visit including crossing the swing bridge, visiting the Bus Stop and a number of smaller waterfalls along the way.


3 hours


6.4 km


600 metres





Top: Looking back towards Woolshed Creek Hut towards the
Middle: The famous Bus Stop overhang provides an ideal spot for a snack or lunch break
Bottom: Looking out over Woolshed Creek from the Mt Somers South-Face Track before connecting with the Rhyolite Track

The track is a lot tighter and less maintained on the eastern side of the valley. There is a solid climb that begins after crossing the swing bridge, it doesn’t stop until The Bus Stop. The Bus Stop is an overhang that provides shelter and a point of rest after the climb. It’s perfect for breaking out those snacks from the top pocket, grabbing lunch and water. From the Bus Stop on it is mostly flat and some small descents before arriving at the Rhyolite Track. Being so flat the ground in the area some sections along the track are known to be muddy.

Top: Checking out the views on the Mt Somers South Face Track | @itscaitlinzoe
Bottom: Walking along the last stretch of tussock before descending the Rhyolite Track | @itscaitlinzoe

The Rhyolite track is steep. That is not an understatement in any way at all. Within the space of approximately 1.2 kilometres, you descend approximately 440 metres. Be ready to have your knees and calves tested if you are descending via this track. For a good hill climbing session, this route will not disappoint.

Top: Lauren descends the start of the Rhyolite Track down to the car park
Bottom: Further down the track as the crew makes their way descending the steep zig zags of the Rhyolite Track | @itscaitlinzoe

Nature Trail & Sidewinder Track

I still have not walked this track yet but it does provide an alternative route to Woolshed Creek Hut. At the start, take the bridge to the right-hand side of the car park looking up Woolshed Creek and follow the Nature Trail up the creek until you end up crossing it. The trail rejoins with the Miners Track for a small section before breaking off into the Sidewinder Track and ascending the South-Eastern side of Alford Forest towards Blackburn mine. From here on the track merges with the Miners track taking you to Woolshed Creek.

1 comment

  1. Brian Matheson and Anne says:

    Thank You Nathan,a wonderful description of the track you and your friends took to the hut.The photos were so good that it made
    me want to do the hike myself. This is a very helpful advertisement for the track and lets everyone know all they need to about the
    track and surrounding area. Obviously there are other interesting places you can go to to experience the beauty of the surrrounding areas and you have explained this well.