Brewster Hut I

South Island, New Zealand

January 18 - 20, 2009

Dave and Jill Svilar


The Brewster Hut sits on a small plateau above bushline with superb views.  It's one of the few huts in New Zealand that has easy access and sits above the bushline.

Originally we were going to save this trip for when the rest of the family comes in February, but with the continued poor weather we needed a roof over our heads (a hut).  The previous three days we had waited/rested in Wanaka hoping for decent weather to break in the hills.  When it didn't we chose the one remaining trip on our list with a hut. 

As is typical with hut trips, it will be remembered more for the company within the hut than the beautiful surroundings or any outdoor adventure.  The immaculate, recently built Brewster Hut was shared on the first night with two older New Zealand gentlemen who had been hiking together for over a week.  At this point they clearly were not enjoying each other's company.  By the next morning one of the gentlemen simply left a note written in his partner's book saying, " Left to hitch a ride to Hokitika.  Have a good life." 

We had arrived the previous evening and had hoped to venture up to Brewster Glacier or hike up to Mt Armstrong above the hut.  The morning's weather was promising so we set off for the glacier only to be lost in thick cloud halfway there.  Most hikers spend one night at Brewster Hut then resume their trip or their busy lives.  At this point Jill and I had neither so we stayed a second night.

Luckily for us an interesting mix of travelers occupied the hut on the second night.  Jill, who to this point had seemed tired and disinterested, perked up and led the group in a lively conversation.  The gloomy weather broke just enough for us to stand on top of Mt Armstrong the following morning.  Clouds and frigid temps (0 F windchill)) forced us to return to Wanaka where we hoped - in vain - for a settled stretch of weather.

- written January 2009

We went back to photograph Thunder Creek Falls near the trailhead for the Brewster Hut and near Haast Pass.


The weather was unsettled during this trip, but did provide an unexpected photo opp.  This is the ridge you hike along to get to the hut.  Haast Pass and the highway is down in the valley.


The next morning we had a break in the weather so we headed off for Mt Brewster and the Brewster Glacier.  Unfortunately, shortly after this picture was taken...


...  we were swallowed by clouds, which is how it stayed the rest of the day.


The second morning showed some promise and the intermittent clouds spiced up my photographs.  I found this tarn especially photo-worthy and returned to it each morning and evening in hopes of seeing something good, even on the second trip in February.


With the short break we hustled up to Mt Armstrong in freezing temperatures reaching the top just in time...


.... to be swallowed by another cloud.  The weather remained like this until the end of January.  Ugh.


I followed Jill to the commode - New Zealand gets our vote for best outhouses. 


I gave my wife away, but only for the sake of this picture.  That's Cameron from Canada, and the other couple is from New Zealand/Switzerland.  These people, plus a couple from England/New York kept us company while the weather sucked.



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