Trapped in a hut for 48 hours! Wait, it gets worse. Trapped in a hut for 48 hours with two kids!! 

It happened in Nelson Lakes National Park this summer with my tramping family (Jack, Dan 9, and Sadie 7). 

This was Plan A:

  • Day 1: Ferry to Picton, drive to St. Arnaud, take the Pinchgut Track up to Mount Robert and sleep in the Bushline Hut.
  • Day 2: Head to Cold Water Hut via Paddy's Track and Lakeside Track.
  • Day 3: Tramp to Lakehead Hut over the swing bridge or via the river crossing.
  • Day 4: Hike back to St. Arnaud via Lakehead Track. Jack to run back to the Mount Robert carpark to pick up the car.

But alas. The actual event, Plan B: 

  • Day 1: Rough seas delayed the ferry and flooding meant a detour from SH63 (the most direct route from the Picton ferry to St. Arnaud). We arrived at St. Arnaud too late to get to the hut before dark and camped at the base of Mt Robert instead. 
  • Day 2: Walked to Bushilne Hut in the wind and the rain. 
  • Day 3: Whisky Falls flooded over Lakeside Track, no access to Cold Water Hut. Heavy rain and high winds on Mt Robert meant we stayed at Bushline Hut again. 
  • Day 4: Hike back to the car at Mt Robert Circuit carpark. 

In consideration of the flooding, we looked at some options for day 3, such as taking a water taxi from St. Arnaud to Lakehead Hut and walking back, but decided the best bet was to stick to high ground. That meant staying in the same hut for 48 hours. Disappointed with the change of plans, everyone responded differently. Jack ate extra muesli bars and simultaneously worried aloud that we might run out of food, the kids began to "play fight" until their giggles turned to tears, and I read my book and tried to ignore the children and our vanishing snack supply. 

Luckily, whenever things don't quite go according to plan (ahem, every time), I blog about it so we can all learn. This time we got down to the business of making fun in and around the hut. 

Thus, the alternate title to this post: How to keep kids from fighting when you're trapped at a hut for 48 hours. In order from most to least time consuming: 

  1. Rescue lost and forgotten cutlery trapped under the deck. This includes scavenging for extraction implements and cleaning found items.*
  2. Charades. Seriously. But before the game starts you need to write down all possible words and - for those in the group that can't read yet or can't read messy adult handwriting - you must draw a picture to go with it.**
  3. Crossword puzzles. Homemade and personalised with family inside jokes.
  4. Word searches. As above. 
  5. Yoga with a view. Be at one with nature, step onto the grass outside the hut, and do some down dog. Retreat to the hut for hot chocolate when you're too cold and wet. 
  6. Hut exercises. This can include push ups, sit ups, squats, and lunges. It works particularly well in huts with beds that double as monkey bars. 
  7. Snow dancing. Snowflake catching. 
  8. Venture into the crazy wind, not too far, to spot some freshly fallen snow. 

There you have it, 8 ways to keep busy when you're trapped in a hut for 48 hours. 

*If you've visited Bushline Hut and lost any cutlery, please look carefully at the photo. Any found cutlery gladly returned to its rightful owner. 

**Mental note to add pencil crayons and blank paper to our packing lists (printable packing checklists: day walk, overnight tramp). 

Mount Robert Circuit

Distance: 9km
Time: 3-4 hours
Difficulty: Moderate

Buggies: No. Front or backpack child carrier would work.
Dogs: No.
Barefoot: Too wet and windy to consider this trip.