Birding · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife
Permit required - New Zealand has a unique system of simple (mostly) backcountry huts that typically have wood/coal heating stoves, plastic-covered mattresses, clean water and bunkhouse communal living. Space can be limited and permits are required. Check in the LDOC offices of major towns for permits. Good information can be found here- doc.govt.nz/
The route is good for running with well-maintained trail and a few steep drops.
Leaving the Lake Howden Hut, head up the trail on a steady rise for half a mile. Here you have the opportunity to drop your bag and jump on the Key Summit Track
for one last spectacular view of the valley.
After you are back down, grab your bag and continue on for another half mile where you go down through some steep switchbacks. Cruise for a while as you cut across the face of the hill until you have one last drop in the last section. The elevation changes, while steep, are generally short-lived.
Flora & Fauna
Southern Beech forests, Kea and Kaka parrots, Bellbird, Grey warbler, South Island Robin, Fantail and Brown creeper, Lancewood plants, Kiwi (you'll hear them but probably not see them), invasive Australian possoms.