Heather Jock Hut

Heather Jock Hut, Mount Judah, Glenorchy, New Zealand, Free Huts

Just a few km outside of Glenorchy is a right hand turn for the Whakaari Conservation Area.  A very little used backcountry area consisting of a series of old scheelite mining tracks to a few free basic and standard backcountry huts.  The track to Heather Jock Hut gradually leads up 1,400 meters to the hut.  This free basic hut is a blast form the past with 3 beds, no heating, and no facilities, except a drop toilet.  On the way up, you'll pass old mining huts and work sites.  It takes about 2.5 - 3 hours to reach the hut.  It's very low key, with amazing views of Mt. McIntosh and the glaciated Centaur Peaks out of the front French door. 

On the other side of the valley is a very easy climb to recently refurbished McIntyre Hut (2 hrs, 5-Bunks, $5pp/pn) However, if you do decide to hike, on this side, we would recommend heading up to the other awesome free, basic hut, in the area, McIntosh Hut (3 hrs, 4-bunks, free). This hut sits right on the saddle of Mount McIntosh, and has far superior views than McIntyre Hut below.  

If you're looking for something off the beaten track in the Glenorchy area and don't want to pay a fortune to walk the Routeburn and still want to access some overnight huts, the Whakaari area is a great option for you.  We didn't see anyone on the track both days and had the 3 bunk hut to ourselves on a Saturday, in early march.