Staying in New Zealand’s Awesome Hut System

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Hello everyone! Mrs. Deal’s sister here again. As hopefully all of you read in my first post, my husband and I are traveling for five months and we just completed our first leg—six weeks in New Zealand.

One aspect of the country that I have been pleasantly surprised with is how incredible the Department of Conversation (DOC) is. They keep their abundance of campsites and walking tracks clean and accessible for travelers. Additionally, there is a hut system in many of the national parks that provide great places to stay. My husband and I utilized these huts while visiting New Zealand and we absolutely recommend that others do too!

These huts range in quality, price, and availability. The two types of huts we experienced were…

Backcountry Huts:

Before leaving on a hike to get here, you must first visit a DOC center and buy “hut tickets.” Different huts require a varied number of tickets depending on quality and they are also first come first serve. We purchased one hut ticket per person ($3) and used that for the Shallow Bay Hut in Fiordland National Park. The hut was basic—6 bunk beds with mattresses and a drop toilet, and we also battled a few sandflies and mice throughout the night. However, despite how basic the hut was though, the location was an A+. It was on it’s own secluded beach with beautiful views of the lake, and right off the Kepler Track so easy for hiking. It was one of our favorite nights in NZ!

Shallow Bay in Fiordland National Park

Great Walk Huts:

We actually didn’t stay in any Great Walk Huts because they book up quickly (sometimes 10-12 months in advanced). With the huts on the nine Great Walks, everyone must reserve their bunk bed ahead of time through the DOC booking site. If you know you would like to do one of the Great Walks and stay in a hut, I recommend booking them ASAP! The cost is quite a bit more than the backcountry huts, as one night will cost $85 per person. They are significantly nicer than the backcountry huts we experienced, although they include cooking shelters, clean bathrooms, and showers. While I am biased since I never actually stayed in one, I do not feel that I missed out. I have a hard time stomaching $170 per night to stay in bunk beds for two people.

Don’t forget that with whatever you choose, you must bring in all of your own gear (sleeping bag, pillow, food, towel, toiletries, etc).

Happy tramping!

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  1. Backcountry huts can indeed be a great deal. I just stayed in the Mueller Hut last week, and it was fantastic. I also agree that the Great Walks huts are way overpriced, but maybe they aren’t, since people are willing to pay and they fill up. I did the Routeburn Track in just two days, so that I only had to camp for one night along the way, since even camping on the Great Walks is now $40 NZD per person, and I was with my daughter and niece.

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