& other free family fun

Port Levy saddle to Rod Donald Hut

02 Rod Donald Hut 27-1-2018Adventure PLUS!!! The Port Levy saddle to Rod Donald Hut track is part of Te Ara Pataka (the Summit Walkway) – it’s a fantastic easy family “tramp” and overnight stay.  We were treated to Kereru flying overhead, bright blue skies, and a stunning, starry night.

We did this walk in the HOT summer of January 2018.

The track

The walk from the car park to the hut takes about 50 minutes (2.5 k one-way). The grassy track is clearly marked, easy to follow, and more downhill than up. There was only one tree for shade along the way (as you can see in the pictures below). As you get closer to the hut, the track narrows and you have to pass through some unfriendly gorse bushes. We were all wearing long pants as a precaution but our daughter (6) still managed to dive into one – needless to say, OUCH!

The return journey takes slightly longer as it’s more uphill.

This is a particularly family-friendly activity as there is a sneaky way out should the need arise. You could also drop off sleeping bags and food etc so you don’t have to carry everything in with you, which is especially helpful with young children. As you drive up Western Valley Road, there’s a gate to a track that will take you (uphill) directly to the hut – about a 10–15 minute walk (see pictures below).

Rod Donald Hut

Stay the night in the Rod Donald Hut! This hut was officially opened in November 2015, so is still quite new. Made from recycled materials and macrocarpa, it has a lovely cosy feel. It has 9 bunks, two kitchen areas, two dining tables, solar lighting, a fireplace, and a state of the art VIP (Ventilation Improved Pit) toilet!

There are great views down the valley to Little River and on a clear night you’ll see plenty of stars.

You need to take all your rubbish out with you. We got phone reception with Vodafone but not 2 degrees (can’t comment on other networks).

For more hut info, including how to book, go to Rod Donald Hut. Adults are $15 per night and children (0–17 years) are $7.50 per night.


Click on a picture to view in a slideshow.

How to get there

Drive out to Little River (about 50 mins from Christchurch) then take the left turn for Port Levy just after the shops. Go up Western Valley Road and park in the car park at the top. Much of this road is unsealed and narrow in places.

This map aims to show you the location of the car park – zoom in to see where the hut is.

More info



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