You get pretty good views from 1,120m up, but getting there requires a little effort. Carroll Hut is part of the Harman Pass Route but can also be visited to as a good half day walk just north of Otira, 15 mins drive north from Arthur’s Pass. The track start isn’t marked from the road, turn off just after Kelly’s Creek on SH73.
I didn’t have time to explore the 30 min Cockayne Nature Walk, but it did look pretty pleasant at it’s start.
Instead I crossed the creek and then headed relentlessly up a steep and tree root filled track for nearly an hour before hitting the bushline.
This is where the epic views really began, with Otira in the distance, disappearing as the track headed around, and the wonderful play of sun and clouds and on the valley sides.
Near the top was a rather lovely waterfall.
Carroll Hut was round the corner, a modern 10 bunk hut, replacing the 1939 original used by the West Coast Alpine Club as a skiing hut.
I started to explore Kelly Pass but didn’t make it to the other side, was getting rather windy, cold and dim by then so decided to head on back. Returning down the steep track was less strenuous but definitely more difficult than coming up, constant risk of slipping on a tree root or mud.