The weather has finally settled down and it was perfect to take the kids on their first overnight tramp.  The wind had stopped, the rain had stopped, the sun was shining.

Aspiring Hut

Aspiring Hut

Aspiring Hut is up the Matukituki valley, the start is about an hours drive from Wanaka. The walk is described by DoC as easy and should take 2 -3 hours for adults. The hut is historic and set on a lovely flat, surrounded by mountains.

All sounds very good so we loaded up the packs. The amount of food, clothes when you are carrying yours and your childs makes for a very heavy pack. The kids had to carry their own sleeping bag and drink bottle which they didn’t complain about.

So off we trotted, past cows and sheep and glaciers. Stopped at some ponds and looked for tadpoles. Then we started to have to cross small streams and then quite big streams.  The kids managed the streams and got quite good at finding the best place to cross. In wet weather some of these streams would be tricky with young kids.  The recent rain saw the streams and rivers swell to 10 times their normal size and at that height they would be impassable for young kids and very tricky for you if you were trying to piggy back them over.

We thought we had spotted the hut but instead it was the Cascade hut which belongs to the Alpine Club. It created a bit of diversion and another excuse for a stop but still there were 30 mins to go.

We arrived 4 hours after we started with plenty of stops and not too many moans and groans.

We are starting to figure out that when tramping with our kids, we need to double the shortest time that Doc suggests for adults and that is about right. So a super fit, fast walker can do this walk in two hours. We took 4.

It has been many years since I have stayed in a DoC hut and lot had been forgotten – like pots, crockery and cutlery, matches. Doc provides gas for cooking and that is it.

The sandflies are pesky so you need long pants, long socks, long sleeves for the evening plus sandfly repellent and antihistamine cream for when the kids invariably get bitten.

We all had a great time, met lots of different folk including another family with young kids who were 3 and 5. The 3 year old had to be carried part of the way. On the way back, we stopped and had lunch with this family and the little one was having a sleep under a tree. Absolutely tuckered out.  I would say 5 is the minimum age and then they should be used to walking on longer day trips.

A few other tips:

I left a change of clothes for everybody and some more food in the car. This was devoured and was a great bribe on the last hour home.

Take a second pair of light walking sandals. Great for the hut especially when your boots are all soggy, great for river crossings, great if a blister develops to have another option.

Keep as much skin as possible covered from the sun.

Plan to stay for two nights if you can. Once there it is a beautiful place to stay and enjoy

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