Lees Creek Hut - Raglan Range
Sunday 15 January 2023
After a long, slow drive along the Rainbow Road, with numerous fords, potholes and rocks making high clearance 4WD necessary, we arrived at our destination. Ten of us were eager to get started on our return day-trip to Lees Creek Hut.
After crossing the swingbridge over the Wairau River, climbing a set of steep stairs, and some discombobulation, we were on our way following the track along Lees Creek. Morning tea was had at the second swingbridge that took us to the true left bank.
For the most it is a relatively easy track through beech forest with several grassy flats. It climbs at a gentle rate with only a few short, steepish sections, gaining about 300m in total. There was only one part where the track had been badly damaged from the storms so it was either wet feet into the creek and a tricky manoeuvre up a rocky bank or a bit of bush bashing around it. There is a significant unbridged side creek but fortunately it was running low so with careful foot placement on the rocks we could cross with dry feet.
We stopped for lunch in a large grass clearing before continuing on to the little 4-bunk Lees Creek Hut. It is situated in a spectacular location surrounded by a huge open meadow flats with views towards the rocky peaks of the Raglan Range towering to the east. The hut was flown onto the site by DOC in 1993 and was formerly known as Sandfly Creek Hut. We soaked up the picturesque, tranquil environment, had our group photo in front of the hut and thought it would be a great place to stay the night and explore further up the valley. One brave person had a quick dip in the creek saying it was rather cool!
We retraced our steps, stopping at the swingbridge for afternoon tea. We were going to stop sooner but the wasps in the beech forest were aggressive and unfortunately two people had already been stung.
We were back at the cars around 5:45pm after a long but most enjoyable day, in fabulous sunshine with a great group.
We were: Sue (leader and scribe), Di, Tony, David, Dean, Jamila and visitors Gael, Viv, Mark and Kelly.