|Map: Andrews Valley-Poulter Valley area, Arthur's Pass National Park|
|Andrews Shelter, at the start of the Andrews Valley Track|
|Start of the Andrews Valley track, next to the Mt White Road|
|Pole Beech at the start of Andrews Valley|
The track starts with a steep climb onto a spur, it then sidles it's way to Hallelujah Flats at around the 800 metre mark for the next 2 hours.
|Manuka scrub lining sides of Andrews Valley track|
|Andrews Valley Track, this is about 1.5 hours in from the Mt White Road|
|Andrews Valley Track: A Wren that came to check me out|
If you did a right turn and walked off the track I can see how you could get lost, as it is quite thick but other wise....?
|One of the side streams crossing the Andrews Valley Track|
|Mature red beech trees, Andrews Valley Track, Arthurs Pass National Park|
|Start of Hallelujah Flats, Andrews Valley|
|Map: Hallelujah Flats and Casey Saddle, Arthur's Pass NP|
|View back down Andrews Valley, Casey-Binser Route, Arthurs Pass NP|
|Heading over Casey Saddle on the way to Casey Hut, Arthur's Pass NP|
|Casey Saddle, the Casey Saddle Track sidles along the spur to right,|
photo from Scott Condron
The last 2 hours are a climb up and over a spur, once over the spur it was a long slow descent in the rain down to the river flat the hut is located on.
|Rest spot at unnamed stream near Pt 869, Casey Stream Track|
Finally made it to Casey Hut about 7 pm, only 2 other occupants so plenty of room in this 10 bunk hut. It was a pleasure to arrive and find an enormous fire blazing in the woodburner...
|Burnt out Casey Hut, 2016 from the TVNZ website|
The closest hut is Trust Poulter about 1.5 hours further up valley, inaccessible if there has been any rain as there are three streams to cross en route.
Take a tent with you if you are considering walking this circuit.
See my further updates at the bottom of this post...
The interior shots below are from the Tramping New Zealand website.
|Interior of Casey Hut showing bench area|
|Bunk room in old Casey Hut, Arthurs Pass NP|
|The awesome firebox in Casey Hut, Arthurs Pass NP|
Day Two: Casey Hut to Pete's Stream; 10 kms. 3-4 hours
I stayed in the hut the next morning drinking tea as the weather was terrible, it was due to clear in the late afternoon. Casey Hut is magnificent, it is one of the "Lockwood" style huts popular with the NZFS in the early 1980's, others include Hamilton Hut, Hope Kiwi, Hawdon Mark I, Edwards and Goat Pass.
|Casey Hut, Poulter valley, Arthur s Pass National Park... morning of day two|
These are far and away my favourite DOC huts. I love all that wood!
|Side view of Casey Hut in 2015, From the Arthurs Pass website|
The weather cleared in the afternoon so I started out at 2 pm, there were light showers on and off as progress was made down the Poulter Valley. It was quite a hike, about 10km's and took about 3-4 hours to reach the scratch camp sites near Pete's Stream.
|Poulter Valley: walking through the red beech trees near Casey Hut|
Because of the rain I took few photos, my camera is not waterproof so I was concerned about water damaging it.
|Poulter Valley: setting off down the river flats near Casey Hut|
|Map: Poulter Valley...the long slog from Casey Hut, Arthurs Pass NP|
There are two significant streams to cross: Mt Brown and Pete Stream's. I had no problems crossing them but they could be a problem if it was raining hard, bear this in mind when planning a trip up the Poulter Valley.
|View of the terraces at Petes Stream, near Binser Saddle from Scott Condron|
My plan was to camp before Binser Saddle so a camp was selected on the river terraces on the far side of Pete Stream, around 6.30 pm. Pete Stream is the last reliable water point between here and Andrews Shelter, so fill up before you start the climb. There are a couple of scratch spots in the matagouri where you can pitch your tent, well protected from the wind.
|Poulter Valley: misting rain over the Poulter river from the terraces above Pete's Stream|
I stopped here as it was at least another 3-4 hours to get back to the car and I didn't fancy walking on an unfamiliar track in the dark.
|Me inside my tent on the terraces above Pete's Stream, Poulter Valley|
I was frankly knackered by the time I had my tent up and ready to go in the semi darkness. After a couple of brews and some food I was feeling much better. I heard some light rain and snow falling during the night but nothing too major...I had an excellent nights sleep.
Day three: Pete Stream to Andrews Shelter; 10 kms, 4 hoursI was surprised to wake on the last day and see snow on the trees towards Binser Saddle, but apart from the snow coating the trees it was a nice clear day.
|Pete Stream, Poulter Valley from near my camp site, morning day three|
When you look at a map of Binser Saddle it doesn't look that bad but it is actually quite steep on both sides of the saddle. You are either ascending or descending for the next three hours.
|Map: Petes Stream to Binser Saddle, the red cross is my camp-site on day two.|
I set out to cross Binser Saddle around 7 am, it was 2 hours to the top and 1.5 hour down the other side. I was surprised by how far it was, the track sidles up and down through the forest for quite a way but only has 600m of height gain over 6-7 km.
|Binser Saddle Track, Arthur's Pass NP|
|Jon resting half way to Binser Saddle, Arthurs Pass National Park|
|Binser Saddle Track, looking back downhill towards the Poulter Valley|
|Nearing the top of Binser Saddle, Arthurs Pass National Park|
|Snow on trees, Binser Saddle Track|
|Snow on the tree tops near Binser Saddle, Arthurs Pass National Park|
|Binser Saddle Track just before the saddle, the stream is near here|
|Map: Binser Saddle to Andrews Shelter, the last 30 minutes is a walk along the Mt White Road|
|View from the high point on Binser Saddle, down towards Mt White road, Waimakiriri River|
|Binser Saddle from Mt White road, Arthurs Pass National Park|
|Binser Saddle, doesn't look so bad....nek minit!|
Access: From off SH 73 drive along Mt White Road to Andrews Valley entrance near Andrews Shelter, other exit is at base of Binser Saddle 4 kms along Mt White Station Road
Track Times: 6-7 hours to Casey Campsite, 5 hours to Pete's Stream, 4-5 hours to Andrews Shelter via Binser Saddle
Hut Details: Andrews Shelter, no bunks, no heating, toilet: DOC campsite on old Casey Hut location, toilet and wood shed, water from nearby stream: Scratch campsite on the river terrace overlooking Pete's Stream
Miscellaneous: All streams on this circuit are un-bridged and may be impossible to cross in a storm, long periods traversing flats which are prone to windy conditions.
|Trust Poulter Hut in the Upper Poulter Valley, Arthur's Pass NP|