By Quentin, 21 March 2007
My sister-in-law was working in Ahaura today so I thought I'd catch a free ride and go and bag Jim's Flat Hut. Well, some hut bags are just not worth it. Jim's flat is about 20km up the Ahaura-Kopara road (10km sealed, 10km unsealed), then a few km down a metalled vehicle track. Beside the hut is a NIWA/Council automatic hydrometer (http://www.wcrc.govt.nz/river_level_rainfall/24_hour/ahaura.htm), and a cableway. The bush is cut over red beech/podocarp. I had a close look at the cableway ("NIWA. Do not use without prior permission") and noted it doesn't have any way to pull the carriage across (no pull cable or winder or hand-held gadget), so woe-betide anyone who goes for a spin... The hut itself is a tin garden shed that stinks of rat-piss, has 2 beds with snowfoams - not very attractive at all. Used mostly by local hunters. DOC planned to remove, but there is some local interest in the Ahaura community maintaining it, so it is waiting on an engineer's report to detail the necessary repairs to bring to standard - it will cost quite a bit I think.
So, if you're driving down the Grey valley in a high-clearance 4WD and need somewhere to stay the night out of the rain, you can drive to the door and it may be worth it. If you keep a hut list, and it is on it and unticked and that annoys you, then I guess you must also do what I did. Otherwise, don't bother.