Mandamus River – Bush Hut

Sunday 20 Sept 2020

Way back last century, the club used to visit Bush Hut near the Mandamus River on Island Hills Station. For years, the commercially run Hurunui High Country Track meant we were excluded, then the venture stopped, and we were given permission to visit the hut. Alas, soon an Island Hills Tramping venture is about to restart so we may be excluded again.

On the day, eleven trampers parked at Island Hills Station and set off up a vehicle track towards the Glencoe River. The map shows a bridge, but it is currently being replaced. John and Aarn edged carefully over the beginnings of a new bridge—just a big treated-pine log, flattened on its upper side. The rest of us waded the discoloured river which was high with snow-melt. We followed the vehicle track, then crossed a field intending to ford the Mandamus River to connect with a track we could see. At the river, an amiable farmer in a ute told us we were about to stray onto Glens of Tekoa cattle country. He steered us back towards the official walking track, which we still managed to overshoot, then crossing a field to find a well-marked walking track with a good bridge which would support a quad bike. We left the farmland, and after a short walk on a nice forest track the ancient log hut appeared.

The area around the hut is well set up for the commercial walk Island Hills is running. It has a cookhouse and dining table under an awning. 1704 metre Mt Skedaddle and the Organ Range beckons above the Island Hills Walking Track and is now public land after tenure review. Lunch was after 1pm so we thought it would be a stretch to go further on the track towards Valley Camp. We retreated, this time staying on the Island Hills Track all the way back to the cars.

We were: Richard & Lisa Ainley, Diane Dixon, Aarn Tate, Peter Umbers, Ainslie Talbot, Shiping Wang, Darcy Mawson, Wendy McCaughan, John Robinson, Kerry Moore. (KM)

For info on the commercial walk that Island Hills offers, go to: or For information on the recent tenure review and the QEII covenanted area, go to:

Bush Hut built by a Norwegian immigrant in 1932. Photo courtesy of Kerry Moore.