After 32 nights spent in huts over the past three years, and having visited many more while walking, here are my favourite tramping / hiking huts in New Zealand to date. They are all relatively new huts, lacking the charm of historic huts but are comfortable places to stay with double glazing and separate kitchen / bunk rooms.
Lake Mackenzie Hut, Routeburn Track
The first hut I ever stayed in. Beautifully located on the shore of Lake Mackenzie, and probably one of the most used huts in the country, given the deserved popularity of the Routeburn Track.Luxmore Hut, Kepler Track
Overlooking Lake Te Anau on a clear day, enveloped by cloud on a bad day, this is the only hut I’ve visited in which the toilets are inside, which I was thankful for given the winds outside when I stayed.
Perry Saddle Hut, Heaphy Track
The three new huts on the Heaphy Track (Heaphy, James Mackay, and Perry Saddle) are all great, but Perry Saddle wins by virtue of it’s location, with lovely views from the deck, and the best views of the whole track by climbing up the 1,238m Mount Perry via an unmaintained track. This is marked with a small cairn just past the hut toward James Mackay.
Awaroa Hut, Abel Tasman Coastal Track
The only DOC hut I’ve come across with a shower, which was very welcome after walking 36km that day. Nice spot by the Awaroa River, perfect for crossing when the tides allow.
Rangipo Hut, Tongariro Round the Mountain
The only one of these huts that I haven’t spent the night in, but wish I had. Instead had lunch sat out on the deck looking over the vast expanse of the Rangipo desert thinking New Zealand is a nice place to live.
Mt Heale Hut, Aotea Track, Great Barrier Island
The closest hut to home, only a short flight from Auckland to the Barrier, and easy tramping up to this 2010 hut, offering views (on a clear day, not when I arrived!) toward Little Barrier Island. Head up the track behind the hut a short distance to get views the other way, and little further along the track lies Mt Hobson with 360 views of the whole island.
Pakituhi Hut, Breast Hill Track
A beautiful little eight bunk hut, located about 100m down from a ridge looking over Lake Hawea and the Southern Alps. Quite surreal to look one way across lakes and mountains, and the other way across golden tussock.
Okaka Lodge, Hump Ridge Track
Definitely more of a lodge than a hut, and run by a community based trust rather than DOC, but worthy of inclusive for it’s amazing setting high on The Hump, overlooking the south coast of the South Island. It’s also rather flash inside…
Angelus Hut, Travers-Sabine Circuit
Possibly my favourite hut, 1,650m up, accessible by four different routes, in an amazing setting.