Tramp: Devils Creek Hut & Doom Track, Mt Richmond Forest Park

A little hunting / kid-friendly tramp recce inland from Canvastown, Marlborough.

My current map apps don’t give me timing on the route and given this is a mixture of trips, that’s it. Devils Creek Hut and Doom Track trails ~March 2024.

In recent years I have dabbled in hunting. A hunting report is not a common thing to find online, because:

  • it takes a lot of time to suss out whether an area has animals and then learn the lay of that land
  • once you do that you don’t want anyone else to know about it
  • the timing is worthless to you anyway; hunting travel has no time-estimation value for anybody.

So, suffice to say, I have visited this area multiple times for no reason and there is no reason a new hunter might want to go there.

Unless you’re looking for one of these in March 2024.

I am slowly writing a book about my hunting journey, so I’ll save all the GORY DETAIL for that (I haven’t actually got anything by myself yet anyway). This blog post is about tramping.

Out the back of Canvastown in Marlborough, 1:45hrs drive from sunny Nelson, sits the Butchers Flat Campsite which DOC haven’t closed yet. It’s the site of an old gold stamping battery, and apparently the final ‘flat terrace’ up the headwaters of the Wakamarina River. I learn this from various goldmining history boards which are positioned along the long gravel road (including a few small fords) from the Canvastown pub, so it’s worth a toddle even if you’re just driving.

Butchers Flat campsite, 2024

I’m heading south from Butchers Flat, out to Devil’s Creek Hut which DOC hasn’t removed yet. The trail starts as a 4×4 road that winds along a while, turning into I presume an old bridle track as opposed to a tramway. Back in the day the horses would have laboured out the broken ore from the creeks upstream, out to the stamper. What’s left of that mining is wide-benched trails with gentle gradients, of which none have yet slipped away.

Eventually they discourage cars continuing.

It’s mountainbikeable stuff; indeed the Nelson Mountainbiking Club just did an international tour and helicoptered a bunch of bikers in to do just that, fortunately one day prior to one of my visits. I’d hazard an intrepid baby mountain buggy would do fine too. So bike-packing or baby-hutting, this hut is a wheely good option. Some bits would require a bit of elbow grease but perfectly doable.

The bridge over Wakamarina River which DOC haven’t removed yet

Two hours walk and you’ll get to Devil Creek Hut, situated in a large clearing that was probably a holding area for native timber, ore, a stable or perhaps butchers waiting to get to the flat. Aren’t my history lessons (guesses) educational?

Devils Creek Hut and wharepaku
Inside Devil’s Creek Hut, not yet removed

The bush beyond the hut is yet to be explored by me, but it’s gorgeous open beech forest. Can’t wait to toddle about further in.

Bloody cool lean-to behind the hut. Someone’s sprayed a cross like it’s a church.

Halfway down the trail, the Doom Track to the old gold workings is a benched doddle through regenerating pigfern and beautiful beech forest. There are plenty of wild chocolate almonds.

Snacks galore.

You may be visited by these charmers as well.

Robin, yet to be removed by DOC
Doom Track looking tidy. Creeks on this one not pram friendly.

You do need to cross the creeks on the Doom track. It does take you to the forks so they’re both smallish, but it is South Island upper catchment country; big boulders.

A bit of the old gold workings. It’s a terrace of broken stone and some broken bits of old wooden history and/or safety signage, a caved in mine entrance perhaps too.

A lovely bit of bush, and great easy access for the little ones and bikers. If you’re a tramper, check it out. If you’re a hunter, go somewhere else, I haven’t got anything yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑