On a mission to South Ohau Hut

Don Herron —  10/09/2015

There are two wonderful huts up the North and South Ohau Rivers in Tararua Forest Park. Last year I hiked and swam to North Ohau Hut.

Earlier this year, a group of us did it again, but this time our destination was South Ohau Hut.

Tramping beside Ohau River on the way to South Ohau Hut. Photo: Don Herron.

Tramping to South Ohau Hut

The weather was overcast, however there was very little wind, plus the blowing southerly from the day before had changed to a warmer nor’wester. We had picked a good day to wander up the river.

Our first stop was for a spot of morning tea at noon at the junction of the North and South Ohau rivers.

From here you can head up the North Ohau River where you will come across the wonderful little North Ohau Hut. Today, however, our goal was South Ohau Hut, so we headed up the South Ohau River.

The going was a lot slower from here, with numerous spots where a bit of climbing, sliding and wading was needed—sometimes all at the same time!

Trampers walking through Ohau River. Photo: Don Herron.

Getting wet boots

Not far along it opens back out again and it’s a pleasant walk from here.

South Ohau Hut sits on a high river terrace alongside the Butchers Creek, South Ohau River forks.

We sat in the hut and had our lunch while priding ourselves on making it to a lovely spot, on such a beautiful day, in great company.

South Ohau Hut. Photo: Don Herron.

South Ohau Hut

After lunch we retraced our steps back down the South Ohau River. A few of us decided to take the deeper way through the river—some even decided to jump off the rocks into beautiful clear pools.

Back at the junction of the North and South Ohau rivers we had afternoon tea, and then we sped down towards the old Ohau Hut site.

The day was getting  late so we decided to head out via the track (as opposed to the Ohau Gorge) after another quick break to empty the hundreds of little stones that had got into our boots.

Fern in Tararua Forest Park. Photo: Malcolm Peacey | CC BY-NC 2.0.

Fern in Tararua Forest Park

This trip is a great day out if you like your day tramps a little longer, enjoy getting wet boots and getting off the beaten track. You will, of course, want to choose a warm day and make sure the river is low!

Don Herron


Don works in the Poneke/Wellington Department of Conservation Visitor Centre in Wellington city. Don loves tramping, riding his mountain bike, travelling and planting natives in his garden at home.