Day 88 – Captains Creek Hut to Rocks Hut

Date: 9 January
Trail covered: 9.6km, plus 1.5km to go and see a lookout (kms 1825.7 to 1835.3)
Weather: Beautiful

When I woke up this morning, I noticed what I called a “sandfly nightmare” at the top of the tent.

Just a few sandflies…

Ive never seen so many sandflies in one spot. To help with the commotion there was also a bumblebee stuck under the tent fly and it was making all the sandflies jump all over the place. The noise from all the sandflies sounded like rain.

I woke up to find every single other person had already left – this included all seven people in the hut and the occupants of the four tents. Yay – I have the morning to myself. I can dry and organise my stuff and there is absolutely no hurry.

The thing that struck me this morning is that the bumblebees here are more annoying than the sandflies. There are heaps of them and they follow you around and don’t leave you alone. And also there were little wasps in the toilet. They get into the toilet through the little holes in the loo that water is supposed to drain out of. Bugs and insects in the toilet while you’re using it are very annoying.

I discovered that my phone has a “wide angle” setting – very cool. I used it to take a picture inside the hut.

Photo of inside Captains Creek Hut taken with the wide angle setting

I took my time having breakfast and packing up. It wasn’t until nearly two hours later that I was ready to leave, at 10:35am. I noticed from the intentions book that Tina and Matthew from yesterday had come through this morning while I was asleep. I guess I would probably meet them again today if they went at their same slow speed.

Just past the hut is another swing bridge. This was another scary swingbridge where you can see the river when you look down, and it wobbled a lot. Maximum 1 person as well!

Scary swingbridge #2

I remembered the 11am picture today. It was this particularly troublesome bit where trees were blocking the path and I genuinely couldn’t work out where to go.

11am picture – fallen trees

It took a fair bit of trying different paths before I found one that took me around the trees, as they were too big to climb over.

This was also the point where the little strap at the top of my pack broke off. This doesn’t affect the pack while it’s on my back but it is the strap I used to carry it around when it wasn’t on my pack. It’s annoying that it has broken. Now I have to carry it by the big straps which makes it fall to one side when I lift it.


At least the pack can still be carried on my back just fine. What if one of the main two straps breaks? I’ll be screwed then!

The first hut today is Middy Hut.

Middy Hut outside

Inside it is an exact replica of Captains Creek Hut from last night – with one important difference.

A 1987 copy of Readers Digest as well as the intentions book

This hut has a copy of the magazine “Reader’s Digest” from 1987. Talk about nostalgia. And inside was this ad, which made me really smile.

An ad for the new Mazda RX7. I am known for having ridiculous cars, and when I was 20 I had two of the very first RX7s – the “series 1”, which explains why my username on and other Internet sites is nzseries1. Here’s the first one I had…

Photo taken in 2000

It was a particularly troublesome car and when it blew up soon after I got it, I replaced it with this one, which was much more reliable and I had it for three years:

Photo from 2003 – my second RX7, being loaded onto the car transportation to be taken to the people who bought it off me who lived in the South Island.

There was nobody else at Middy Hut, although someone had been there because they left this sleeping bag and mat there, along with a note.

“Plz don’t take this! I’ll be back on the 8th of January 2020. Thx, Wako” – given that it is now the 9th of January, Wako is late!

I took the time to fill up my two brand new water bottles that I got during the Christmas break. It’s nice to have new water bottles that don’t have all the crud that builds up in plastic bottles over time.

From this point the next hut is Rocks Hut and it’s all uphill…

After another swingbridge of course.

Make sure you keep going up at this point (in the next picture) and don’t start heading left! I think the trail used to go left to Roebuck Hut but now goes via Rocks Hut.

It was uphill the entire way but the path was mostly well formed again.

This bit was a bit rocky
And this bit a bit “rooty”

I reached Rocks Hut just after 3pm. About half the people from last night were around. There was also a Dad and his two teenage boys who had walked up from Nelson and another father and son duo who had done the same thing. Since Browning Hut (the next hut on the trail) is signposted as 11km/4hr30 away I decided to stay here for the night. I can have a relatively early night and have an early start.

Since there 16 beds in this hut we will all get to sleep inside tonight.

Inside Rocks Hut

If I want to reach Boyle Village on time I need to be doing more kilometres per day than this – I did less than 10km today! However I got my sleep-in this morning and I’m feeling really good and the early start will help tomorrow. Although Alex and Ethan would never have let me get away with a 10km day!

Last year I planned to get to this point and then get to Nelson and fly back to Auckland for Christmas, but if you remember the bad weather at Havelock made me change my plans. This is the route I would have taken:

According to that sign there is also a lookout, so I thought I might as well go and have a look. It’s quite a nice view I have to say! And there was a geocache here!

View from the lookout

Back at the hut, almost everybody was joining in a card game called kaboo.


It’s quite a fun game but it’s stressful because it’s one of those games that requires quick reactions. I played a couple of rounds but then excused myself to go and make dinner, partly because I was hungry but partly because the game was stressing me out.

Most people were in their sleeping bags and in sleep mode by 9pm. Although not before most of us admired the not-too-shabby sunset.

Today's walk on the map (blue = Te Araroa, red = today's walk):

12 thoughts on “Day 88 – Captains Creek Hut to Rocks Hut

  • Hi Matt. This is Cheryl, Alexโ€™s mom. Iโ€™m glad you are back and writing your blog. I love it. There are quite a lot of days coming up without cell service but I will read when you post. Best of luck! Happy new year.

  • Hi Matt
    Bumble bees see into the ultra-violet, also see blue and green strongly, but not red. If your shirt has ultra-violet lines showing in the weave a bumble bee would think you were a very large flower and would follow you trying to get at the pollen and nectar! Sandflies, on the other hand, are strongly attracted to the colour yellow. Put a piece of yellow plastic on the ground and they swarm all over it. My guess is they swarm all over your tent fly because they can smell/taste the carbon dioxide that you exhale and know there is a feast awaiting if only they can get through the mesh.
    The joys of being out in the natural world.

  • Hi Matt, EAST/WEST COACHES, 0800 142 622. leaves Boyle Education Centre at 10-20am daily except Saturday. They will drop you at Christchurch Airport

    • Thanks, I actually learned about this shuttle the next day by reading the trail notes! I’ll be using them for sure – cheers!

  • So glad you are nack Matt. Interesting post re yellow attrcting sandflies, I must check it out bec ause the bloody things love me. Hope your back comes right.

  • I can imagine the card game stress ๐Ÿ™‚ How funny that there was such an old Readers Digest there, and even funnier that it had RX7’s in it. I hope Wako returns for his belongings soon!

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