Altitude: 276m to 402m. Gain: 913m. Loss: 1033m . Gradient: 7 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
An occasionally-poled route runs down the Albert Burn from the hut to the river mouth. Old farm tracks lead north along lake-side flats and faces to Craigie Burn.
Head downriver from Albert Burn Hut until forced to cross to flats on the true right. The river is ankle-knee deep in normal flows. 4km of good travel on open flats follow before the valley starts to close in to a tighter V. Stick to the true right, and look for marker poles and old cattle tracks sidling the increasingly scrubby face - or rock-hop beside the river where that's easier. Beech forest starts on the true right where the river enters the lower gorge. Scramble up onto the beech terraces if you're not already there - rather than entering the gorge itself. A marked DOC track runs through the beech for 1km before dropping to the river, crossing it at a potentially tricky crossing, and climbing to sidle the true left. This crossing can be avoided if necessary and ravel continued by boulder-hopping the true left - though a couple of scrambles will be required if the river is up.
The cut track on the true left ends where the gorge stops and terraces river flats commence. From here down crossings are easier. The standard route crosses the river twice more, though this can be avoided by a 100m bush scramble. Eventually the faces on either side of the river end and are replaced by low terraces of manuka and scrub. A DOC sign is located on the true left at this point (facing upriver, 'Albert Burn Hut 3hrs')
An old vehicle track can be spotted starting atop the northern bank some 20-30m downstream of the DOC sign - it's a bit of a scramble to reach it from the river flat. This 4WD track leads NE through thick manuka flats to exit into large grassy clearings after 0.5km and from there it;s a further 1km across the flat along the base of the valleyside to reach the start of the cattle track at the next buishedge,
The cattle track is not marked or maintained and can be hard to find. It starts by climbing the gully separating pt355 from the main range just where grassy flats end to bush/scrub. The track climbs 100m and then sidles the steep lake-side through thick scrub before dropping to a white stone beach 1km before Craigie Burn Hut. You can either follow the lakeshore from here to the hut, or pick up the cattle track again bahind the beach as it cuts through the manuka to the hut.