The walk into Lake Angelus (Rotomaninitua) is one of the most popular walks in the park. There are several ways of getting there, however, with a minimum distance and time of 12 km and 5-6 hours respectively to reach the lake there isn’t an option falling into the day-walk category. Thankfully the 28-bunk Angelus Hut provides overnight accommodation and tenting spots are also available near the hut. Fees apply year round and bookings are essential between 30 November and 1 April and on public holiday weekends.
Facilities at the hut are basic. There are mattresses, water supply (boiling may be necessary), toilets, hand washing facilities and heating with fuel available. Everything else will need to be carried in on your back. During peak season a warden will likely be present to confirm your booking.
The Department of Conservation website contains a full description of all routes into Angelus Hut.
At an altitude of 1,65o m, the lake is high enough that even in the middle of summer the area can experience snow, frosts and bone-chilling winds. In winter, the lake will freeze and the hut has been known to disappear completely under snow. Needless to say this destination, and the walk to get there, is for experienced and well-equipped hikers only. I’ve included some further safety notes at the end of this article, which includes a link to a great video explaining the various routes and things you’ll need to be prepared for.
On this adventure we walked into the hut via the Robert Ridge Route (6 hours), spent our second day exploring the Lake Angelus area (including a 4-hour return walk to Sunset Saddle), and on the third day walked out via the Speargrass Creek route (6 hours). This 5-minute video contains all the highlights!