Showing posts with label Otamahua Hut. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Otamahua Hut. Show all posts

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

The newest DOC hut: Otamahua...

Otamahua Hut opens on Quail Island

New Zealand's newest DOC hut opened over the weekend, it is Otamahua Hut on Quail Island in the centre of Lyttleton Harbour.

The recently restored Otamahua Hut on Quail Island

This is another step in the Department of Conservation/Rod Donald Trust's long term plan to provide more opportunities for Christchurch residents to enjoy outdoor pursuits on Banks Peninsula.

There are now three DOC huts within an hours drive of the city, all on the DOC Hut booking site. The other two are Rod Donald Hut overlooking Little River/Western Valley and Packhorse Hut on Kaituna Pass.

Conversion of an older building

The hut is a conversion undertaken on the old rangers house located on the northern western side of the island, it was also previously the Heritage Centre for Quail Island. The new hut has been configured as a serviced 12 bunk hut, with a separate hut wardens quarters so it can be used for work parties to the island.

It has all the features of a DOC serviced hut: bunks, tables, water source, toilets and wood burner with wood provided.

I mentioned the ongoing conversion in a post I wrote after visiting Quail Island in January 2018, it has taken nearly10 months to be completed but is now open and ready to be used over the 2018/19 Christmas period.  

The hut can be booked on the DOC hut booking page, you can book out the whole hut or just the number of beds you need.Good back-country hut etiquette is to only book the number of places you need, so just do that!

Please don't book out the whole hut so you and the missus can have some 'private time' on Quail Island...other people will want to us it as well. 

Materials waiting inside Otamahua Hut for the conversion to begin in 2017

The hut is great news as it allows people the chance to visit the island and stay overnight while experiencing what it is like to stay in a DOC hut. The track to the hut is very easy to negotiate so this hut can be used by people of all ages: families, children and older folk included.

I can see the hut being used by groups ranging from families, school groups, guides/scouts and groups of older trampers reliving their glory days...

DOC Otamahua/Quail Island Brochure

You can check out the useful brochure about visiting Otamahua/Quail Island on the DOC website...

A joint venture...

The new hut is a joint venture between the Department of Conservation, Quail Island Ecological Restoration Trust and the Rod Donald Trust. The two trusts largely raised the funds for the renovation while DOC provided the builders to undertake the work. All three will contribute to the upkeep of the hut. 

Map: Otamahua/Quail Island...The new hut is located where the old Heritage Centre was...

Collaborative joint ventures are the way forward when it comes to building new huts and tracks, this one is no exception. DOC are interested in promoting recreation while the Rod Donald Trust is doing a fantastic job of promoting outdoor pursuits on Banks Peninsula. The Ecological Trust have been working for 25 years replanting Otamahua with native trees to restore it to its pre European condition.

All three of their interests dovetail here therefore providing the motive power to get this project off the ground.

View of the interior of Otamahua Hut while under renovation, photo from Rod Donald Trust site

Here is a blub from the DOC page about the history of the hut and Otamahua/Quail Island:


┼îtamahua/Quail Island has a rich history and culture. The Island has been used as a quarantine station for sick immigrants before they were allowed on the mainland. It has also been used to house New Zealand’s only leper colony as well as training animals for early Antarctic expeditions.
The hut was built in approximately 1910, mostly by prisoners of the Lyttelton Jail. It was used as a caretaker’s cottage up until the early 1980s. Between 1906 and 1925, the caretakers provided cooked food for the lepers. In 1982, the hut was converted into the Island’s interpretation centre.

Since being converted into overnight accommodation, the interpretation panels will now be housed in the Immigrant Barracks on Whakamaru Beach (Swimmers Beach).

Completed Otamahua Hut, repainted and ready to be used...

If you would like more information check out this report on the Rod Donald Trust website or have a look at the Otamahua page on the DOC site

Go there and enjoy the views!