Backcountry huts: A guide for new trampers...
|That first tantalising glimpse of your home for the night...Magdalen Hut|
Your average Kiwi tramper will probably stay in huts for 90% of the time when tramping, the other 10% will be camping.
|A good hut has an awesome location...Nina Hut, Lewis Pass Scenic Reserve|
That is a lot of hut life!
A breakdown of DOC hut amenities
|Living/Cooking space, Te Matawai Hut, Tararua FP|
|Living area in Boyle Flat Hut|
|Looking towards the bunk room in Boyle Flat Hut|
|Other side of Boyle Flat Hut living area|
Generally these smaller huts are an open room design, they will not have a table but will still have a cooking bench, heating and shelving in the living area.
|Entrance way for Hackett Hut, Mt Richmond FP|
|Hackett Hut Interior|
|Canvas sacking bunks, West Harper Hut|
|Sleeping platform in the new (2014) Anne Hut|
Let us look once again at the facilities at Boyle Flat Hut. Boyle Flat is a 20 bunker, i.e. it has space for 20 people to sleep inside. In this case the sleeping areas consist of two bunk rooms separated by a wall. The bunks in this particular hut are of the "sleeping platform" type and can accommodate 10 people per room in two layers.
|Sleeping platforms at Boyle Flat Hut|
|Individual bunks in Anti Crow Hut, Arthur's Pass NP|
Some huts will also have you sleeping on the floor, an example being Lagoon Saddle Hut in Craigieburn FP. There is a combined table/sleeping platform for one person in the hut, the other two residents sleep on the floor on the mattresses provided.
|Lagoon Saddle Shelter, 1 person sleeping space (2 more on floor)|
When you leave in the morning you need to stack the mattresses on their sides in an orderly fashion, this protects them from dust, vermin and mildew.
|Nicely stacked mattresses in Christopher Hut|
If you are hiking with a group and arrive piecemeal, good hut etiquette dictates that you cannot reserve a bunk for your mate....they need to be there in person to claim a bunk.
Hut floors, decks and verandas make great back ups if the bunks are all taken and this perfectly allowable (I have slept on a hut table a couple of times...). You can sleep in your tent and only use the hut for cooking, socialising etc if that proves necessary.
|Packhorse Hut, Banks Peninsula, 10 bunks...awesome views!|
|Anne Hut, the wrap around deck look...|
|Boyle Flat Hut, open deck and enclosed veranda|
|Inside the Lakehead Hut veranda, Nelson Lakes NP|
|Your source of water, the Robinson Rive, Victoria Forest Park|
|Boyle Flat Hut, stream fed water tank|
|Magdalen Hut, brand new rain water tank next to hut|
NB: Not all of the huts are owned & maintained by DOC, a lot are owned by 4 W/D/hunting/skiing/mountaineering clubs and increasing numbers are maintained by volunteers.
|Small Hut: Magdalen Hut,Lake Sumner FP: the cooking bench|
Hut etiquette note:
Please make sure you have adequate ventilation while using a stove. Solid fuel, white spirit, meths and gas canisters all give off carbon monoxide in use, open a window so it can escape. Be extremely careful when refilling gas bottles or changing canisters as fire is a real risk at that time.
|Classic NZFS zinc covered cooking bench, Mid Robinson Hut|
|Cooking shelter, Bay of Many Coves, Queen Charlotte Track|
|Example of an open fireplace at West Harper Hut, Craigieburn Rnge|
|Firewood waiting to go into the wood shed at Lakehead Hut|
|A sight to gladden any budding pyromaniacs heart...a full wood shed!|
|With axe and saw we get firewood...|
Please don't steal the tools: some day a cold, wet and hypothermic tramper might turn up at that hut and find no means to cut wood for a life saving fire...
Consider your actions!
Don't use all the wood, replace the dry wood you use so the next visitors have some.
|Nothing like a blazing fire...|
Make sure the fireplace is cleared or at least fully out before you leave. More huts burn down because of careless ash handling than any other cause. Dowse them or put them in the ash barrel if there is one. As a last resort leave the cooling ashes in the fireplace with the door firmly shut, at least they wont burn down the hut if they are contained.
|Ash barrel at Lakehead Hut, Nelson Lakes NP|
|Were there be people there be long drop....|
|Most basic toilet...a handy patch of bush...|
|A "Bog" standard DOC long drop toilet|
|Better: Slightly more up market facilities, Hawdon Hut|
|Oh yeah!!!: High quality DOC campground toilet block|
|Martins Hut, Longwood Forest...the first/last hut on the Te Araroa Trail|
Miscellaneous Hut GearStuff you will commonly find in a DOC Hut:
- Broom (Hint: You use it to sweep the floor...)
- Ash bucket for the fire
- Axe and/or saw for cutting firewood
- Half brush and shovel
- A green DOC hut visitors book
|Axe and bow saw, Mt Rintoul Hut, Richmond FP|
Stuff you might find in a hut but don't rely on it:
- Cleaning materials/soap/dishwash
- Reading matter
- Paper/matches/lighter for starting a fire
- Pack of Cards
- Spare tramping food left by other visitors
|Cleaning materials at Hawdon Hut|
- an unopened 750ml bottle of good red wine (seriously...why didn't you just drink it...it was delicious by the way).
- A pair of lavender frilly french knickers?
- a 12 pack of condoms...found near the knickers...???
- One sized 10 boot??????
- a kiddie paddling pool???????
Use them....don't abuse them!
Please fill in the hut book, DOC maintain these huts based on the number of visitors to them and hut book statistics are their main source of data. No data....no maintenance!
|Standard DOC hut visitors book|