Sayer Hut is one of the oldest tramping huts in the Tararuas and has a fascinating story to tell.
In 1878 Sayer and Potts were prospecting for gold at Totara Flats and accidentally burnt much of the bush on the river banks to form the flats that we know so well. In 1889 Sayer tried introducing hens to Totara Flats but they soon died out. Then in 1909 Sayer built his hut on the flats on the eastern side of the Waiohine River – the first private hut in the Tararuas – that is still standing today.
You can take a look around the inside of the hut by panning the photo here – and then maybe decide to go there for yourself.
The easiest route to the hut is from the Mangaterere Road end – about a 3 hour fairly easy walk on a well maintained track. Another way is via the Totara Flats track from Holdsworth Lodge although that involves a crossing of the Waiohine River – which is easy enough provided there has not been significant rain but difficult, or even impossible, when the river is running high.
The hut has a nice open fire to warm the place and cook your tea. But don’t smash down trees for fire wood – simply collect the driftwood from the river. Even when wet this leached wood burns well and there is usually plenty to be found if you hunt about.
And then finally pay the hut fee and leave the hut and surroundings neat and tidy so others can also enjoy their stay there.
ps, for more Tararua photos visit tararuaphotos.com