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Cascade Hut

30 May 2010

Coordinates 44°29.588′ S, 168°40.090′ E 

Cascade Hut. Photo D Hegg

Cascade Hut is located at 430m of elevation in the Matukituki River West Branch, opposite the long spur running south west from Rob Roy Peak over Glengyle Peak. Owned and maintained by the Otago Section of the New Zealand Alpine Club, it is the oldest hut in the Mount Aspiring region. 

The building has a simple structure with two bunk rooms connected by a shed for firewood and gear storage. Each room has four beds with mattresses and an open fire-place. There is no common space or dedicated kitchen area, but a long drop toilet is near the hut. 

A water tank collects rain water from the roof. Since the river flats around the hut are grazed, drinking creek water is not advised. The hut is locked, and keys can be obtained in Dunedin from the local NZAC section (follow this link for current fees and contact details), or in Wanaka from the DoC visitor centre. 

Cascade Hut. Fog, Sharks Tooth and Craigroyston Peaks above. Photo D Hegg

History

The idea of building a hut in the West Branch of the Matukituki Valley was first suggested in 1925 by Eric Miller, who wrote about Shovel Flat “this grassy slope lying well to the sun and affording an excellent jumping-off place for the ascents of Mounts Aspiring or Barff, or any of the numerous surrounding peaks, appeals to the writer as an ideal site for a hut such as are maintained on other tracks” [1]

The project became possible with the formation in 1931 of the Otago Section of the New Zealand Alpine Club (OSONZAC). The decision to build in Cascade Flats as opposed to Shovel Flat was justified by the greater ease of access (there was no road to Raspberry Flat at the time!), the better weather further east, and the fact that parties returning down valley could not be cut off by flooded streams [2]. Cascade Creek and Rough Creek were both unbridged at the time. 

The newly born OSONZAC used the income from the screening of films and ‘lantern slides’ to finance the hut. Two working sheds near the Waipori Dam site were purchased and dismantled by section members to obtain the materials for construction. Packhorses were used to transport the materials to the site, and the actual construction of the hut was completed in only four days during Easter 1932 [3]

The original structure of the hut still stands today, and any maintenance work is carried out by volunteer OSONZAC members. 

Access

See the notes about the Matukituki River West Branch for access to Cascade Hut. The hut is about one and a half hours from the road end, and half an hour down valley from Aspiring Hut

References

[1] Miller, E.: Mount Aspiring and the Matukituki Valley. The New Zealand Alpine Journal, Vol III, No. 14, 1925, page 273-279. Published by the New Zealand Alpine Club. 

[2] p70-71 in Gilkison, W.S. (1951) Aspiring – The romantic story of the Matterhorn of the Southern Alps. Whitcombe and Tombs Limited. 80 pages  

[3] Otago Section Notes. The New Zealand Alpine Journal, Vol V, No. 19, 1932, page 116-117. Published by the New Zealand Alpine Club.

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