Not every trip need be an epic expedition into gnarly territory, full of hardship and suffering (although we do enjoy a good bit of suffering from time to time!). Sometimes you're just looking for a quiet weekend away from the city with a pleasant amount of exercise coupled with some beautiful views. The walk into Tribulation Hut from the banks of the Rakaia River certainly ticks these boxes and is a great introductory walk for anyone with limited experience or little legs. The hut lies on the edge of the Hakatere Conservation Area and borders a working farm on the far side of the valley. Drive south from Christchurch to Rakaia and then follow the river inland past Mt Hutt on the south side of the river. Blackford road will turn to shingle part way down and has some small ford crossings so a 4WD would be preferable especially after rain. Parking can be found through a gate on the left hand side of the road just before the bridge over Redcliffe stream.
DOC puts the 10km walk (one way) at 3.5 hours and this is pretty fair on the way in as the track climbs a fairly rough route for the first 4km up the river. Although this is a poled route the track has been washed away in places and a few of the detours may take you a couple of minutes to find. Throughout the whole walk you should either be on fairly obvious tracks or see poles every 100m or so. This is by far the most challenging part of the walk and although you will encounter a few steep climbs they're over very quickly as the track deposits you on top of a wide grassy plateau. Redcliffe Saddle will open up in front of you and the track meanders gradually through tussock along the boundary fence with the neighbouring farm. Follow the poles another 5km before dropping down into the river bed just before the hut. This will be easy to cross at a low flow but be wary after heavy rain.
Tribulation Hut is a tidy 6 bunk hut with a long drop and plenty of water access. It doesn't have a fire unfortunately so if you're heading here in winter you'll need a good sleeping bag. While the trip to the hut and back to the road end is pretty straight forward, some parties choose to climb nearby Rat Hill for a bit more of a challenge. The return trip to the car is a good deal quicker as you're heading mostly down hill or along the flat.
Total Distance: 20km
Total Time: 5-7hrs
Pro Tip: Head back to Methven on your way out and get the Large Nachos from the Blue Pub
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