French Ridge Hut



Last updated: January 28th, 2024

Background

On Tuesday, March 21st, 2023, I hiked to the French Ridge Hut on New Zealand's South Island.

The Hike

To hike to the French Ridge Hut first requires getting as close as possible to the trailhead. The pathway there has several stream crossings. The depth of which depends on recent rainfall. I was driving a Toyota Alphard and was only able to cross a few before the water became too deep. For this reason, I parked far away near a bridge.

Starting at 12:51PM, I did not reach the hut until 7:38PM. Much of the hike was flat but once it started going vertical, it required constant climbing with hands and feet. To ascend, holding onto roots was required.

The hut cannot be reserved. The cost to stay there is $40 NZD and should be paid before or after at the Mount Aspiring National Park Visitor Centre. In the hut, there are 20 bunkbeds. Most of which were occupied by the time I got there at sunset. There is untreated water which must be filtered or boiled before drinking.

On the way back, I stopped and went for a dip in the ice cold river. It was a warm day and I wanted to clean up. Sandflies were in great numbers around this area and I was not able to stay for long.

There may be Kea on the trail. This is a mountain parrot.

Overall, this is a demanding hike which is harder than any Great Walk. Climbing with the extra weight is difficult and takes time.

Things To Know

  • Prepare for a long, steep hike and start early to make it before dark
  • Bring a sleeping bag, the hut has only a mattress
  • Carry a water filter to allow drinking water at the hut
  • Arrive early to make sure you get a bunkbed
  • Bring sandfly repellent
  • Carry lots of water (3 liters or more)
  • Carry a personal locator beacon for emergency
  • Prepare for cold weather and rain

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