Remote hut experience deep in the bush
This Adventure combines a backcountry hike up to the small but comfortable Nina Hut while focusing on native wildlife spotting, conservation awareness and epic mountain views. If you like a good walk, getting your boots muddy and don’t mind waiting patiently for stunning wildlife, this is your trip.
This local track will lead you into the true wilderness of Lewis Pass and to cosy Nina Hut, where you can explore the nearby river and admire a star-filled sky. Keep an eye out for Weka, Whio (Blue Ducks), and even Kiwi that have been spotted here – both human and bird.
Nina Valley Hut is perfect for those heading to the West Coast or Nelson & Tasman (even if you were originally planning on heading through Arthur’s Pass).
In the space of 20 minutes, we saw two breeding Whio, about 100 traps all in action and two kea flying right over the hut – you can even hear them in the videos I grabbed. The hut sits perfectly on a hillside surrounded by stunning mountains. Loved it!
Spend this trip with your eyes wide open…
- Join me on a cruisy drive from the city deep into the Lewis Pass region
- The walk itself is easy going with some smaller climbs and dynamic shrub and flora.
- Hike through ancient forest, past rugged peaks and a dense bush full of wildlife:
- This hut accommodates 10 people, however, some opt to camp out on the soft grass for a night of stargazing.
I have travelled and hiked around the world, but there is no place like the South Island of New Zealand. My best memories have been out in the mountains on foot, skis, or raft. I want to share New Zealand's backcountry experience and explore our unique environment with others. I love to explore places that stay off the radar, whether it's countries few have heard of, or huts that only get a couple of visits a year. Finding unforgettable views, wildlife that rarely sees humans, and bush in its wild state has made a huge impression on me. Enjoying these places while conserving them and leaving them in better condition for the future is crucial. Come with me and discover remote and pristine valleys, mountains and bush. Plus, fall in love with backcountry hut life by the fire, bathtub or natural hot pools.
- Deep knowledge of local and regional backcountry as well as the West Coast.
- Has travelled Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Georgia, Armenia, for personal travel that mixed multi day trips, day hikes, camping, huts, guesthouses, all up to 4000m.
Wildlife and views everywhere
We’ll start our adventure with a scenic drive from Christchurch to the start of the hike, showing you some of the stunning countryside Canterbury has to offer.
Once we’ve crossed the first swingbridge on the walk, the track leads through ancient beech forest and over a gentle saddle filled with moss and old, small trees that shade you from the sun. Here, several fantastic lookouts provide a good photo op over our remote backcountry.
Nina Hut is located on a ridge with excellent views of the surrounding area and a fireplace inside for a cosy night. Here, you’ll have time for lunch and an optional Wildlife Tour along the clear Nina River, where I can help you spot endangered whio (blue ducks), curious robins, fantails and the conservation efforts that are happening around here. There is also a very small number of kiwi sightings here, so should we have the right clothing and a red torch ready, we can go and sit quietly at the edge of the bush in the evening; listening out for the telltale call of a southern brown kiwi.
This is a classic trip for me and one I regularly get friends along on that are keen to “get outdoors”. Nina Valley is one many visitors miss out on. As you drive north towards Nelson and Tasman, you’ll admire the stunning views and enormous grace of the Hope River, but you seldom realise the awesome hikes above you in the trees and mountain tops.
This route is a gentle one that gives you a chance to experience the wonderful Lewis Pass area up close. A personal favourite of mine, this will give you enough of the outdoors and physical work to make a drink and dinner at the end of it taste even better.
Have it your way
If we have a group of one or two people (and we bring a tent), it gives us a chance to head to Nina Bivvy. This tiny bivouac is located another hour or so out from the hut and I’ve frequently made the choice to go there if the hut is a bit busy. It’s only two bunks, but it’s located deep in the forest, next to a river and provides an even better chance to spot wildlife. This little bivvy is maintained by a private group and gives you a good chance to experience true backcountry camping.
If that sounds like you, remember to ask me about camping in the chat function when you book!
All tours require the proper gear to ensure you’re having the time of your life, and are well prepared if things go south. It’s the real and rugged New Zealand out there!
Cutlery, bowl & cup
Lighter / Matches
Pack Cover / Liner
Sunscreen & hat
Toiletries & Underwear
Top & Bottom Base layer
Torch & Batteries
Warm hat & gloves (March to October)
Warm hiking layer
Cooker & gas/fuel
Personal First Aid Kit
There are add-on extras for this tour. These are the little things that’ll either make your Adventure easier to organise or more rugged - your choice. You can add these during the booking process.
Photographs of Your Adventure
Want your Adventure captured in stunning, professional photos? Want to ensure you capture the stunning wildlife with your eyes, not with a lens? We’ve got a Lensman (like Bushmen but with cameras) who will join you and capture all the best moments so you don’t have to.<br />+ $250 NZD
Q & A
Your Bushman has added a couple of answers to questions other Visitors have asked in the past to help you with your booking plans. Once you book a tour, you'll be in direct contact with your Bushman for more support.
How cold does it get overnight?
Although plenty of trees cover the track, this region is known for its cold winds, especially in the off-season. That’s why a good level of warm clothes and a sleeping bag are required, even in summer.
Are there any steep climbs?
The track is easy to follow and not too steep, with a gentle climb up to Nina Hut in the end. This is good for those new to hiking or those who don’t want a ‘big’ day.
Do I need hiking boots?
Yes, hikers should definitely swap sneakers for proper hiking boots. There are several small stream crossings on the way and a swamp area which can get quite muddy after rain. But it wouldn’t be a proper hike without a bit of bush bashing and mud puddles.
When will I be back in Christchurch?
This is a full overnight hike, including a 2-hour drive back to the city. Plan to get back to Christchurch City around mid-afternoon the following day.
Here’s a few answers to the more general questions about the whole journey. You can visit our help and support area for any further information or contact us via the chat function.
What is the refund and cancellation policy?
Bushman Tours sets a standard cancellation policy that can be found via our Terms & Conditions. This is globally set at 48 hours notice. However, Bushmen may add to this depending on the requirements for the Adventure (e.g. - hiring gear and renting equipment on your behalf). The final policy will be located at the bottom of the checkout, or you can reach out to us to check.
What happens if the tour is cancelled due to weather?
In most cases, the Bushman can arrange another day to run your tour, but this also comes down to when you're available if travelling through New Zealand. We recommend ensuring you have insurance for cancellation of any tours. If the Bushman has to cancel due to a health risk, we will call you to arrange another option.
What gear do I need?
Although we have a minimum requirement of gear, you will need the right equipment and gear that is relevant to the Adventure you're booking. This is usually found at the bottom of each tour page, but for our minimum, please visit our FAQs & blog page.
Can I hire gear/equipment?
In some circumstances, your Bushman will have equipment for you to hire. This is available to browse and book through the checkout. We may also have options through our checkout. Although you may be able to borrow gear during the tour, it's important to reserve it now.
What food shall I bring?
Depending on the length, this can vary. Your Bushman will advise on the tour page what is recommended for this particular Adventure, but typically, what we offer at checkout via the add-ons section is what you'll need. Keep it lightweight and nutritious if you buy your own.
Where do I meet my Bushman?
We always try to pick the closest iSite (Visitor Centre) to your Adventure's location. Instructions on precisely where to meet are sent after the booking is made. However, you can also message your Bushman and arrange another location as long as it's close enough to the region.
How much extra is it to add family/friends onto the booking?
If you book and find that more people want to come with you, we can arrange to add them onto the booking (this is dependant on the Bushman's preference to the number of people to take out). The more that book on the original checkout option, the cheaper the fee for each individual - so spread the word before you go to book! Please note, you cannot add or bring extra people 48 hours before the tour starts.
Can I talk to my Bushman before the Adventure?
Absolutely! Once you book, you will be able to login and chat directly to your Bushman through a private, secure chat. Here you can arrange some extras you would like to do, timings for pick up and much more.
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