A day trip to John Hayward Hut...
Over the weekend I went for a jaunt up the Kowai River to John Hayward Hut. This was my alternate-alternate plan as both of my overnight trips were subject to heavy rain warnings. I've been wanting to get up here for a while but always seem to have other trips to do.
|Mt Torlesse at the head of the Kowhai River Valley|
Travelling up the Kowai River
|Kowai River Valley, Korowai-Torlesse Tussocklands Park|
The trip starts from the farm gate opposite the historic road-man's hut on the last bend before the climb to Porters Pass. The car park is also a rest area so there is plenty of space here. Unfortunately it would not be a totally secure place to leave your car overnight, SH73 is notorious for break-ins and vandalism of parked vehicles.
|Kowai River Valley: car park on SH 73|
|Porters Pass road-mans hut on highway 73|
|Start of the Kowai Valley Track next to rest area|
|Kowai River Valley: awesome river crossing....!|
|View towards head of Kowai Valley|
The road to Porters Pass is really obvious once you start walking up the valley, here you can see it zig-zagging up the side of the hill.
|SH73 climbing to Porters Pass from the Kowai River Valley|
|Kowai River lower reaches from the 4 W/D track|
|Kowai River view North, Mt Torlesse in distance|
|Kowai River Track goes to left of bee hives|
|Kowai river bed- view towards road|
|Through the Kowai River gorge|
|Mid point on way to John Hayward hut|
|Back view of Foggy Peak from Kowai River Valley|
|Kowai River- last corner before hut comes into view|
|John Hayward Hut- first view from the river bed|
|Looking North West to the "Gap" and Torlesse Range|
|John Hayward and Mt Torlesse|
|Ford point over Kowai River at John Hayward Hut|
John Hayward Hut: A research station...John Hayward Hut was built in 1973 to house a long term Lincoln University hydrology study. There are several relics around the hut which show this history including an interesting set of sluices near the hut for testing water resistance etc. It would have been a relatively comfortable hut as it had heating, hot water (from a fire warmed wet-back), electricity, telephone and bunks for 4 people.
|John Hayward Memorial Hut -1973|
|John Hayward Memorial Hut -interior showing bunks|
|John Hayward Memorial Hut -interior domestic bliss|
|Jon Moake in John Hayward Hut|
|Old Lincoln University experimental hydrology water race|
|View down Kowai Valley from above the hut|
|John Hayward Hut on its terrace|
|Torlesse Range from Kowai catchment|
|View of Castle Hill and Torlesse Range from above the hut|
|Headwaters of Kowai River, with the "Gap" at centre-left|
|John Hayward Hut and wood shed|
|Panoramic view of Kowai valley|
|The famous "Gap" to the NW of John Hayward Hut|
|The standard route to climb Mt Torlesse starts right next to the hut and follows a couple of spur lines to the top. It looks a relatively simple if arduous task to reach the summit. |
|Mt Torlesse from the knoll behind the John Hayward Hut|
|John Hayward Hut memorial plaque|
|Jon Moake sitting inside John Hayward|
|View out window, John Hayward Hut|
|John Hayward Hut in black and white|
|The John Hayward hut firebox with wetback|
|Electrical fittings for now non existent power in John Hayward|
|Kowai Valley track, high above the river|
|Kowai Valley track, recently cut back scrub|
|View of the start of the Kowai River Gorge from high on a spur|
|View back towards head of Kowai River|
As the glacier receded up this valley it would dump these debris on the side of the hills. These would be from the last mini glacial age about 7000 years ago.
|Glacial moraines on the hillside- Kowai Valley|
|View down to SH73 and the trail head from high point on Kowai Valley Track|
|At the track junction pictured below, left takes you down into the riverbed, right is the track which continues to sidle around the hillside. |
|Kowai Track junction- both lead to the road|
|Kowai track- access point from the river|
|Kowai track on river terrace behind beehives|
|Shady rest spot overlooking Kowai River|
|Kowai River Track- go left around the beehives|
|Another Jon 'selfie' from near Kowai River|
|Kowai River Valley: SH73 & track head are near the distant pines|
Historic Porters Pass Roadman's HutHere are some shots of the interior of the historic Porters Pass roadman's hut, derelict and vandalised. It is a bit of a shame because the hut has been standing here since the 1910's at least, so it really is historic in nature. It is a perennial problem protecting these huts close to a road, even the John Hayward Hut six km's from the road was vandalised a month or so ago.
|Interior of old Roadmans hut|
|Interior of old Porters Pass roadmans hut|
The hut has been significantly refurbished in 2016 by a volunteer group using money from the Outdoor Consortium Fund. There are now six bunks, new mattresses brought, the firebox has been replaced and a new water tank has been installed. It has also received a new coat of paint.