Colenso Hut lies not at its namesake, Lake Colenso, but 5 minutes away on the terraces of the Mangatera River (south fork). It's a standard hut with 8 bunks on two sleeping platforms, a 'corker cooker' wood-stove for heat and the option of cooking, and tank water. The hut is nicely sited to catch the morning sun, with views of the sunrise over the main Ruahine Range to the east.
The Colenso basin and lake is a destination worthy of a visit in itself: an amazing array of native flora and fauna in an area which is otherwise a beech or tussock monoculture.
The Colenso name comes from missionary William Colenso who may have been the first European to cross the Ruahines. A 'Colenso crossing' of the Ruahines via Colenso Spur above Barlow Hut, Lake Colenso and Colenso Peak is a viable 2-4 day crossing of the Ruahines.