Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area, Canterbury NZ

Excellent gorge scenery and grand mountain vistas await you on this moderate walk to Woolshed Creek Hut on the western side of Mt Somers.

Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area

With severe gale force winds forecast for the mountains on a sunny Saturday in late winter I thought it best we avoid exposed ground, and opted instead for this circuit walk to Woolshed Creek Hut near Mt Somers. Being at lower elevations I did not expect so much from the walk, but it very much exceeded expectations. We did the loop anti-clockwise and climbed up to 1100m on the Rhyolite Ridge and Bus Stop Tracks, with excellent views towards the distant but spectacular Arrowsmith Range, and also of the nearby Winterslow Range. Once near the hut there were narrow and rugged gorges with waterfalls and bluffs aplenty. Great stuff.

Track notes at the end.

Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit: The Scenery

Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Crossing Woolshed Creek at the start on the Rhyolite Ridge Track.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
The Winterslow Range behind the Woolshed Creek Canyon and Alford Forest.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Sophia admiring the first of the views.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
A somewhat distant Arrowsmith Range, peaking at 2780m. I think we are looking up the Cameron Valley here, and there’s a hut at the end that we might visit one day. Pretty spectacular location from what I’ve seen online.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Walking on the Bus Stop Track / Mount Somers Track (South Face). The Winterslow Range peaking at at the back.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Sophia looking towards the Arrowsmith Range.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
A panorama of various ranges, with the impressive Arrowsmith Range centre right.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Sophia on the other side of a gorge backed by the Winterslow Range.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
A panorama looking west.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Looking west as we descended towards Woolshed Creek Hut (out of frame to the right).
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Woolshed Creek Hut down there, backed by unnamed peaks in the Winterslow Range.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Woolshed Creek has carved out this gorge.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Its a very short side trip to view this waterfall.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
The tracked crosses an unnamed creek that had carved out a very narrow and shear sided gorge. This is visited on a very short side track to a waterfall (out of frame to the right).
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
There was an unofficial side trip to visit this waterfall and views further down the creek over the edge of another waterfall.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
The bed of the creek was a very green and slimy rock.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Almost at the hut.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
A very narrow section of the gorge through which Woolshed Creek passes.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Crossing Morgan Stream near its junction with Woolshed Creek.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Crossing Morgan Stream near its junction with Woolshed Creek.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
The track crosses Woolshed Creek at the hut.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Looking back up Morgan Stream.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Looking back up Morgan Stream.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
An unnamed waterfall on one of the tributaries of Woolshed Creek. We crossed this higher up.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Woolshed Creek down there in the narrow gorge.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
A panorama of the area around upper Woolshed Creek (left) and Morgan Stream (right).
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Morgan Stream (left) and another unnamed tributary of Woolshed Creek tumble down towards the main canyon/gorge.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Fabulous gorge scenery: gorgeous.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
The area around upper Woolshed Creek (left) and Morgan Stream (right).
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Looking down the Stour River Valley.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Our outward route travelled above these impressive bluffs. I didn’t know then how attractive this would look on our way back along the Miners Track.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Looking down Woolshed Creek as the gorge widens into a valley.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
Looking back at the rocky scenery we walked above in the morning.
Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
An old mine on the Miners Track.

Track Notes

Woolshed Creek Hut Circuit, Mt Somers area
The tracks are all marked and obvious. There are maps at the shelter / car park at the start. We walked anti-clockwise from the shelter at the end of Jig Road, but I suspect more people walk clockwise.

All the tracks are obvious and marked. We walked the circuit anti-clockwise but I’d say walking it clockwise would be nice too. The outward leg of Rhyolite Ridge Track and Bus Stop Track (the track that links the Mt Somers Track with the Mount Somers South Face Track), is considered a bit harder than the return leg on the Miners Track. Neither are difficult for regular walkers; about 9-10km all up. There’s more information on these and the multi-day Mount Somers circuit on the DOC website.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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