Table of Contents

The Ultimate Guide to Hiking in New Zealand

Caroline Hickman

Here at New Zealand Trails, our team have years of experience running guided hiking trips around New Zealand. With small groups of international adventurers joining us from all walks of life, we make sure our hiking trips are the ultimate way to experience New Zealand.

We’re also a bunch of keen hikers and outdoor enthusiasts ourselves, and of course our guides are all ambitious hikers. With that in mind, we wanted to take this opportunity to share our local knowledge and expertise about hiking in New Zealand. Whether you’re thinking of joining us for a guided trip or planning to go it alone, you’re sure to find this information useful. As a fellow outdoor person, you’re part of our tribe – whether you’re new to hiking or a seasoned expert.

Guide hiking near Angelus Hut

When to hike in New Zealand

The New Zealand hiking season is at its best from October through until March. Outside of these times you need to be an expert as most of the hiking trails are snow-covered, especially in the high alps.

If you visit during these months, you’ll probably see our groups with their local guides exploring New Zealand, taking on ambitious hikes and enjoying other activities. It’s our mission to share the best New Zealand has to offer. With great food and accommodation making up the package, it’s easy to see why there are so many smiles on their faces!

Hiking Key Summit

Planning and preparation – the importance of booking ahead

New Zealand has 10 named Great Walks that journey through the country’s most magnificent and iconic places, as well as many other long hiking trails. The 10 Great Walks get very busy in the summer months and the huts book up quickly. If you’re hoping to hike one of the Great Walks you will need to plan ahead and book before you arrive to secure your permits and overnight hut passes.

If you just turn up and hope to get a place you may be disappointed, even if you are flexible with your dates. The Milford, Abel Tasman and Routeburn tracks in particular book up months in advance.

These are the 10 Great Walks in New Zealand. Of course, this doesn’t mean hiking less well-known trails is any less ‘great’ and in fact, you may find them less busy during the summer months.

  • Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk – East Coast
  • Tongariro Northern Circuit – Central North Island
  • Whanganui Journey – Manawatu/Whanganui
  • Abel Tasman Coast Track – Nelson/Tasman
  • Heaphy Track – Nelson/Tasman, West Coast
  • Paparoa Track and Pike29 Memorial Track – West Coast
  • Routeburn Track – Otago, Fiordland
  • Kepler Track – Fiordland
  • Milford Track – Fiordland
  • Rakiura Track – Southland

River crossing on the Hollyford Track

How to book

You can book most trail permits yourself online through the website of the Department of Conservation. They have offices and visitor centres located all over the country where you can collect your pre-booked permits, make bookings and get valuable local advice once you get here.

If you’d prefer a guided hiking experience with a local guide, take a look at our hiking based itineraries here or get in touch. New Zealand Trails run fully supported tours, designed to make your New Zealand adventure as easy and safe as possible. Your guide will be at your service for the entire duration of your trip, not only during hikes and other activities, but also at any other time of the day too. It’s like having a local friend on hand at all times! A big part of travelling with one of our guides is that they can provide a great deal of knowledge each day, giving you the opportunity to learn all about New Zealand’s fascinating environment.

What to pack for hiking in New Zealand

So where do you start with packing for a hike where you might experience four seasons in one day? Well, it’s all about layering! Make sure you have layers to put on and take off as the day progresses or the weather changes. You’ll also need to make sure you are carrying suitable food, drink, equipment and communication devices if you’re not with a guide.

If you opt to go for a guided trip like those operated by New Zealand Trails, your guide will provide and carry much of the group equipment on your hikes. If you’re joining us on our Kiwi Classic trip, equipment like sleeping bags, mats and walking poles are available to save bringing them from home. A full detailed kit list will be sent to you when you’ve booked your trip.

For more information on what to pack, check out our Ultimate Packing Guide.

Hiking in New Zealand

Who to hike with

Always hike with a friend or group that you know and trust. Even better, if you’re visiting from overseas, go with a company that provides you with a reliable guide who knows the route and can offer local knowledge, trusted back-up in the event of an emergency and even help carry some of the gear. Perfect!

If you are hiking with friends, be aware of how fit and experienced everyone is. You’ll need to pace yourself at the slowest person’s speed. Ensure everyone is part of the planning, so they know what they are doing and exactly what to expect. Make sure you know about everyone’s medical requirements before you go. Carry out a group kit check before you set out – has everyone got the right gear? Share out group items to spread the weight. Have a quick skills session before you go – do you have all the skills you’ll need in the group when it comes to the hiking terrain, navigation or any potential river crossings?

Thinking of hiking alone? One word. Don’t! Hike with a friend or a group. You can still experience serenity and alone time, but having company means you will be at your safest.

Leaving intentions – tell someone where you’re going

Always, always, always share your plans. If you are planning your own hikes, the Mountain Safety Council of New Zealand has a simple planning tool online that creates a handy PDF for you to easily share with your loved ones about your intentions. It can be shared instantly on Facebook or emailed, and is quick to create. It is commonplace in NZ to do this and is at the heart of keeping you safe. The only way anyone will know to come and find you is if you don’t come back on time.

Many of the outdoor locations you will be hiking are remote and have no mobile phone coverage. Even if you think you aren’t going far, you may find you don’t have a phone signal. You may also find that away from the main trails, even in the high season, there are often very few people around. If something does go wrong, the only way our emergency services can help you is if they know you haven’t returned. You MUST tell a trusted family member or friend. If you’re visiting from overseas and your trusted contacts are back at home – no worries! You can still tell them your plans.

What do you need to tell your trusted person?

  1. What you are doing
  2. Where you are going
  3. Who is going with you
  4. What equipment you have with you
  5. What transport you are using
  6. When you are expecting to be back
  7. What to do if they don’t hear from you at the agreed time

HIking Rocky Mountain

Check the weather

You may think New Zealanders are obsessed with the weather and maybe we are just a little bit… we keep an eye on the forecast all the time to make sure we don’t get caught out! The Mountain Safety Council report that New Zealand’s changeable weather conditions frequently catch out those who are unprepared. So, it’s super important that you check any weather watches and warnings for your region. Always check the mountain and rural forecasts for the region you’re going as they can be quite different than an urban forecast for a major town or city. Metservice provides the best local weather forecasts and is the go-to place for accurate and up to date information.

The outdoor safety code

Adventuresmart NZ name five simple rules to help you stay safe in the great New Zealand outdoors:

Plan your trip – Seek local knowledge and plan the route you will take and the amount of time you can reasonably expect it to take.

Tell someone – Tell someone your plans and leave a date for when to raise the alarm if you haven’t returned.

Be aware of the weather – New Zealand’s weather can be highly unpredictable. Check the forecast and expect weather changes.

Know your limits – Challenge yourself within your physical limits and experience.

Take sufficient supplies – Make sure you have enough food, equipment, clothing and emergency rations for the worst-case scenario. Take an appropriate means of communication.

Remember that New Zealand is very different to anywhere else. Do not expect the same things as you might expect at when hiking at home. For example, mobile phone coverage is very sporadic – this is not a densely populated country. Likewise, if you are travelling out of the high season or in a remote area, you may not see anyone else. Stick with your hiking buddy, stay on the trail and make sure you are well prepared.

Alternatively, if you are unfamiliar with New Zealand then we recommend you opt to travel with an experienced operator with well trained and knowledgeable guides, such as New Zealand Trails.

Top Hut to Hut Hikes in New Zealand

Haere Mai (Welcome in Māori) to The Land Of The Long White Cloud. Also known as New Zealand, the amazing little country down under. A place that hosts more sheep than people and where the mountains often meet the sea. The adventures are endless; the kiwis (New Zealand folk) invented the bungee jump and the jet boat, after all. Furthermore, within the action-packed country, there boasts some of the best hiking in the world.

Hut-to-hut hiking is one of the best ways to explore the country and have shelter away from the elements. The Department Of Conservation manages these wonderful backcountry huts. There are over 900 huts to choose from. New Zealand has 10 Great Walks that are the first-rate treks accessible from major towns, maintained often, and well established. There are two Great Walks included here in the list, in addition to one more off the beaten path that is highly note-worthy.

What to expect on a hut hike

Huts in New Zealand differ greatly from one another. Some huts can accommodate only two people, whereas others can hold up to fifty. The huts range from basic to luxury. The luxury huts are located on the Routeburn and Milford tracks. If you prefer having a shower, a three-course meal, and a nicer bedding situation at the end of the day, these are perfect.

For the average New Zealand hut, you will find some with lighting, stoves with fuel (in peak season), mattress pads on the beds, a common area with a fireplace, tables, chairs, and cooking areas. The more popular routes will have a friendly hut warden or volunteer. Some huts will look like giant lodges. The simple huts will be more like a cute old shack in the woods, very rustic and basic. They possibly will have a small table, a fireplace, a bunk bed or two, and a small outbuilding toilet. One thing these huts all have in common is they are always surrounded by beautiful scenery. Be ready to share a room with others in the bunk rooms. Note: “Track” in New Zealand kiwi lingo, refers to trek or hike, and “tramping” is the term they use for “hiking”.

1. Tongariro Northern Circuit

Difficulty: Moderate | Days: 3 – 4 | Mileage: 28

Trip Overview

One of New Zealand’s ambient wonders, the circuit is a must-do if you visit the North Island. Take an adventure circumnavigating Tongariro National Park along one of New Zealand’s ‘Great Walks’. Explore the volcanic alleyway next to brilliantly blue mineral lakes and stunning panoramic views. The trail is relatively well maintained and easy to navigate. Along the way, you will encounter open alpine vistas and forests. On a clear day, you can see breath-taking views for miles. In addition to the brilliant views, you will be also walking within history. You’ll encounter major geologic transformations, walk through the sacred areas of the Māori people, and see one of New Zealand’s oldest backcountry huts, Waihohonu, which was built in 1904.

Don’t have 3-4 days? No worries. You can complete the shorter version of the trek known as the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. An amazing 12-mile day trip that takes roughly 6-9 hours. It is acclaimed to be the best day hike in New Zealand. Please note that this section can be very popular from May to October. Transportation for this hike will need to be arranged as it is a point A to B trip, not a circuit.

Planning And Preparing

The best time to complete this trek is from May to October. It is possible to complete the hike in other months, but this is not recommended. Many services are removed or closed at that time. The circuit can be packed with snow, experience extreme winds, have low visibility, and can be overall very dangerous in the outer peak season months. Even from May to October it is crucial to check the weather before going. During this peak season, the current hut price is $36 NZD per night per person.

There are three huts offered along this route you can stay in. There are pads on the bunks and you will find heating, gas cookers, dining tables, solar-lighting, toilets, and potable water. The Department of Conservation staffs rangers at these huts to help keep them clean, safe, and check tickets. Be prepared to pack out all of your trash. Planning in advance is key, as spots in these huts are limited.

Camping is an option, but do remember it can be notoriously windy or rainy here. The current camping price is $15 NZD per night per person. These are basic sites that offer sinks, toilets, and potable water. A few of them will have cooking areas with picnic tables. Hut use is available to the campers with the exception of sleeping in the huts.

You must book these huts or campsites in advance. It is important to plan and prepare properly for this trip. Always check the weather conditions prior to departure. Confirm all bookings, arrange transportation, know your limits, pack appropriately, read up on safety information, and be sure to print your ticket and track guide.

Getting There

The Tongariro Northern Circuit is located on the North Island. It can be accessed from four different locations. Desert Road, Ketetahi Road, Mangatepopo road, and Whakapapa Village. There are parking lots at all four locations if you drive to the hike on your own. You can arrange shuttles to and from the trek with a Department Of Conservation approved transport as well. Guided journeys are available for the Tongariro Crossing. Find out more information by clicking here. The closest major towns from the National Park are Turangi, Ohakune, and Taupo.

Recommended Day by Day Itinerary

Most hikers will begin their journey starting and finishing the circuit at the Whakapapa Village, but you can certainly start in one of the other three entrance and exit locations. I recommend beginning the adventure at Whakapapa village so you can utilize the information center to obtain up to date trail conditions, weather, and safety information. Before the start of the trek, staying at the Chateau Tongariro Hotel or the Whakapapa Holiday Park are good options.

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Day 1: Whakapapa Village to Mongatepopo Hut, 6 miles, 3 – 6 hours

Lava flows, steam vents, plains, and cone volcanoes. Your day begins transitioning into what appears to be other-worldly. Magnificent views and sights begin almost immediately on this adventure.

Day 2: Mangatepopo Hut to Otuere Hut, 7.5 miles, 4 -6 hours

Connecting with the day hike Tongariro Alpine Crossing, you will have a bit of a climb today and steep descent with loose lava rock, but the views and rewards will be well worth it. Optional thirty-minute side-trek to Te Wai Whakaata o te Rangihîroa (Blue Lake). Do it. Craters, amazing blue lakes, and stunning alpine views.

Day 3: Oturere Hut to Waihohonu Hut, 5 miles, 3 – 4 hours

Open valleys and fields, cone volcanoes, panoramic views, forested valleys, and streams.

Day 4: Waihohonu Hut to Whakapapa Village, 9.5 miles, 4 -5 hours

Mountain ridges, pristine lakes, waterfalls, and the grand finale to your Tongariro journey.

2. Copland Track to Welcome Flat Hut

Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous| Days: 2 – 3 | Mileage: Varies

Trip Overview

Looking for something a little off-the-beaten-path, but a hike that still has stunning alpine views, creek crossings, hot springs you can soak in, rivers, forest, and more? Here’s the Copland Track to Welcome Flat. A lengthy first day into the valley, but it is well worth the work. Soak in the hot springs surrounded by alpine vistas in a lush forest. On clear days, you can get amazing views of the Sierra Range of the New Zealand Southern Alps. This hike with fairly minimal elevation gain or loss still offers a challenging and rewarding backcountry hut experience in a beautiful western region of the South Island. The trail was created from 1901-1913 in an effort to promote more hiking and tourism in the Southern Alps region.

Planning and Preparing

Booking both campsites and bunk rooms in the hut will need to be done in advance. Click here for more information on bookings. Alternatively, you can go with a guided company that will cover all of that for you!

This awesome trek can be affected by flash flooding as many areas of the trek follow the river and have creek crossings. Always check the weather and trail conditions before heading out on this journey. Do not attempt to cross the rivers or creeks in flash floods. Avalanche risk and landslides are also a risk to consider here. Leave your intentions with someone, take all necessary gear, and know your limits. A good topo map of this area to obtain is NZTopo 50: BX14 and BX15. This trip is best done between late May and early October.

Welcome Flat Hut has a capacity of 31 bunks. It is a well-serviced hut, so there will be a ranger or volunteer on duty. If you are bringing a group, there is a group room with 4 bunks separate from the rest of the hut. There are also 8 tent sites, but due to the heavy sandflies at times and the rain, I recommend staying in the hut. The hut has bathrooms, sinks, potable water, a fireplace, lighting, a communal dining space, and several bunk rooms. You will need to pack your own stove, pack out all trash, and bring all the necessary gear. I highly recommend gaiters and waterproof boots for this trek as the trail can be rocky, uneven, slippery, and unstable at times. Be sure to pack a swimsuit and towel for the well-deserved soak!

The current hut fees in this region are $20 per night per person. The Sierra Room for private groups of 1-4 people is $100 per night. Campsites are $10 per night and are located right behind the hut. With the camping fee, you are allowed to use the hut during the day. Refunds can be issued if the trail is dangerous or closed at the time of your journey. The Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Center and I-Site is a good place to visit prior to the start of your trek to obtain further information.

Getting There

The trek is roughly 16 miles driving from Fox Glacier. Heading south off of SH 6, you will find the sign along the road north side from the Karangarua River bridge. The dirt road goes for only a few minutes to the carpark with trail sign and bathroom.

Nearby areas are Hokitika, Franz Joseph, Fox Glacier. Staying in one of these areas prior works well and they all are additional areas worth exploring. If you are on a DIY trip, it would be best to either be driving in with a rental car from Christchurch or Queenstown to this region. If you start on the North Island flying first into Auckland and work your way south, you can take the ferry across and work your way south as well. Alternatively, you can go with a guided service and they will handle all the transport and logistics for you.

Recommended Day by Day Itinerary

I suggest doing this trek in three days. This way you will have an extra day to possibly explore the area a little more, rest, and most importantly, enjoy those hot springs. With the right conditions, it is possible to complete a day hike or additional overnight to Douglas Hut. This is a very basic mountain hut that has only 8 bunks. Beyond Welcome Flat hut, however, becomes demanding and the trail can be hard to find and becomes much more primitive. This is for experienced hikers only. Check with the volunteer or ranger at the Welcome Flat Hut and at the visitor center to obtain recent trail conditions. Washouts in this area can be common.

Day 1: Parking Lot to Welcome Flat Hut (and hot springs!), 12 miles, 6 – 10 hours

Following the river gently heading up into the valley, this is a beautiful journey into the pristine southern mountain views. Travel through the forest along creek crossings and little window pockets into the alpine world.

Day 2: Welcome Flat Hut or Douglas Hut, up to 8.5 miles, up to 7 hours

A day for rest, relaxation in the hot springs, or a hike/overnight to Douglas Rock Hut. Soaking up the views, possibly doing a day hike, or just enjoying a soak with other like-minded travelers.

Alternatively, this could be the hike out day. (6-10 hours duration & 12 miles distance).

Day 3: Welcome Flat Hut or Douglas Hut back to Carpark, 12 miles, 6 – 10 hours

A day for retracing the beautiful steps back through the forests, creeks, and along the beautiful river inside this wonderful valley.

Hike New Zealand with a Guide

Guided New Zealand trips are available, and are a stress-free, exciting way to do this trip. The tour company handles permits, gear, transportation, meals, and provides a professional guide so you can focus 100% on enjoying your adventure. Read more…

3. The Routeburn Track

Difficulty: Easy to moderate | Days: 2 – 4 | Mileage: 20 – 40

Trip Overview

This spectacular Great Walk encompasses beautiful alpine vistas, waterfalls, lush forests, and glacial-fed rivers and valleys. It is well maintained and easy to navigate, with the exception of the winter-off season (the photo above is of that). This trek is extremely rewarding and offers a great hut to hut New Zealand experience within the Southern Alps.

It is possible to do this hike year-round, but there are avalanche dangers, limited hut usages, and a lack of a defined trail in the snow. The Department of Conservation advises against trekking in the off-season due to safety concerns. To complete this in the off-season, you need to be competent in snow travel and mountain terrain. In the main season of October-May, there may still be altered trail conditions and weather warnings, so always do proper planning and research.

Planning and Preparing

In the peak season from October 29th- April 30th, huts and campsites require a booking in advance. The huts have gas stoves during this time and will have hut wardens. During peak season, the cost is $130 NZD per night per person for International hikers. This is for the standard huts. Outside of peak season, it is $15 NZD per night per person. Camping in peak season is $40 NZD per person per night and $5NZD per person per night in the off-season. It isn’t necessary to book outside of the off-season for the trek, but you will need to obtain a Backcountry Hut Pass/ Ticket. If you plan on doing multiple hikes throughout New Zealand, it is a great idea to check out the 6-month pass.

Allow plenty of time to complete this trek. Check and plan accordingly for the weather. Pack appropriately for this adventure. Obtain updated route information, and tell someone your intentions. Know your limits and your groups’ limits. There is a lot of great information you can obtain by visiting either the Queenstown or Fiordland National Park Visitor Centers. Transportation will need to be booked in advance, as well as your hut or campsite tickets.

Getting There

The closest towns are Paradise, Kinloch, and Glenorchy. I highly recommend staying in one of these cozy little towns. It is a fantastic region to spend a few days exploring and settle into the simple quiet southern kiwi life. 45 minutes away sits a larger town- Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world. There is a small airport here. Alternatively, Christchurch is the major airport for the South Island, and Auckland is the major airport for the North Island. The easiest way to get to this area is by hiring a car, booking with a guided company, or booking a shuttle transfer.

Recommended Day by Day Itinerary

I have included here the 3-day itinerary from point A to B (Routeburn Shelter to The Divide). This would be an itinerary that will need to include a pick-up or shuttle transfer on the other side. Alternate options are to do a day hike, an overnight and back, hire a guiding company to arrange all logistics or to do the entire hike and then head back the same way (5-6 days total). This 3-day itinerary allows time to fully enjoy the trail and spend some quality time getting to know the area.

Day 1: Routeburn Shelter and Carpark to Routeburn Falls Hut, 6 miles, 3 – 5 hours

A gentle approach starting on the forest floor gradually ascending into the valley. Crossing rivers, seeing small pockets of alpine vistas, and open meadows.

Day 2: Routeburn Falls Hut to Lake Mackenzie Hut, 7 miles, 4 – 7 hours

The vistas really start to open up on this day. My favorite day of the hike, for sure! Five minutes from the hut, you will stumble across Routeburn falls. Heading up into the pass, you will encounter panoramic mountain vistas and views of the valley floors below. The scramble up to Lake Mackenzie hut and gradually descending back into the forest is magical.

Day 3: Lake Mackenzie Hut to The Divide, 7.5 miles, 4 -5 hours

It will be difficult to leave the stunning lake Mackenzie and all of the beautiful surroundings. It is time to hit the trail again, however. Along the way to the divide, you will encounter another waterfall along the way named Earland Falls. Before exiting, there is a rewarding side hike to the Key Summit. This is roughly an hour-two hour in addition, but has panoramic views of the Fiordland’s and beyond.

Want to continue hiking? Link up the Routeburn trek up with another hut to hut trek in the region! The Heaphy, Kepler, Milford, Dart & Rees, or Greenstone/Caples treks are additional stunning Southern Alpine destinations!

Wildland Trekking Hiking Adventures

As the world’s premier hiking and trekking company, Wildland believes in connecting people to fantastic environments in amazing ways. Wildland Trekking Company offers an array of incredible hiking and trekking experiences in 9 states and 11 countries. Read more about our world-class destinations.

To learn more about our guided backpacking trips and all of our award-winning hiking vacations, please visit our website or connect with one of our Adventure Consultants: 800-715-HIKE.

15 Best New Zealand Huts – Guide to Staying in Backcountry Huts

15 Best New Zealand Huts – Guide to Staying in Backcountry Huts

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One of the most iconic experiences you can have in New Zealand is spending a night in a backcountry hut. New Zealand huts are unlike anything you’ve probably ever seen before and spent the night in one is a true “Kiwi” experience.

It’s true. In a New Zealand hut you might run into young school groups, families, groups of friends, and of course, a mixture of locals and international tourists. You’ll make friends, share hiking stories, and quite possibly enjoy some of the most breathtaking views you’ve ever seen right from the hut’s kitchen window.

But what exactly is a hut in New Zealand and how do you stay in one?

Well, in this blog I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about staying in a hut in New Zealand including how to book them, what to expect, what to bring, and so much more.

I’ve also included a list of the 15 most iconic New Zealand backcountry huts. That way, you can curate your own NZ hut bucket list and start booking your stays ASAP!

About New Zealand Huts

The Mueller Hut in Mount cook National Park

The Mueller Hut is my absolute favorite backcountry hut in New Zealand.

Backcountry huts in New Zealand are group accommodation units owned and operated by the Department of Conservation (DOC.) The DOC is responsible for almost all hiking trails in New Zealand along with plenty of campsites, national parks, maintenance and protection of flora and fauna, and pretty much anything outdoorsy you can think of.

Huts in New Zealand provide a place to stay for hikers along hundreds of hiking trails across the country. In fact, there are a total of 950 different huts in NZ that the DOC manages!

These huts provide refuge for hikers and they are very affordable. Some huts are completely free to stay in while the most expensive (I’m looking at you Milford Track) cost up to $70 NZD a night.

The common area in one of the nicer huts in New Zealand (the Luxmore Hut.)

Huts also range in the services they provide. Some have power, some have flushing toilets and running water, some have kitchens and communal areas filled with board games and books, and some, well, are simply a roof over your head.

But what all New Zealand huts have in common is their incredible landscapes. The huts are often located in some of the most beautiful places in New Zealand – places that many never see. You have to hike to find them and this isolation in the middle of New Zealand’s untouched natural beauty makes the entire experience special.

New Zealand Hut FAQs

the bathrooms in a Great Walks hut in New Zealand

Some of the huts in New Zealand have really nice, and modern, bathrooms.

How much does it cost to stay the night in a hut in New Zealand?

This depends on the hut. Some huts are free, some cost $5 NZD, $15 NZD, and the ones on the Great Walks can cost up to $70 NZD per person per night.

Where do you sleep in huts in New Zealand?

Most huts have large rooms of shared sleeping quarters. Expect bunk beds with mattresses. You’ll need to bring your own sleeping bag and be prepared to share a room with upwards of 10 other people.

Are there kitchens in huts in New Zealand?

Most huts have kitchen areas, but only some have sinks with taps and running water. You also need to bring your own equipment to cook with as well as gas. Most Great Walk huts have gas and cookers available during the summer season.

What are the bathrooms like in New Zealand backcountry huts?

Some huts have very nice bathrooms complete with flushing toilets and sinks with running hot water. Some, on the other hand, simply have a pit toilet (outhouse) located just outside of the hut. It really depends on the hut.

Who can stay in backcountry huts in New Zealand?

DOC-operated huts are open to the public both for international tourists and locals alike. Children can also stay in huts. However, some huts require advanced booking to stay the night.

What are the best huts in New Zealand?

The most luxurious huts in New Zealand are located on the 10 Great Walking Trails. However, there are also nicer huts on the most popular trails.

Types of Huts in New Zealand

It’s important to understand that there are 4 different categories that huts fall into. Each category tells us what facilities and services are available in a hut, and that is reflected in the price.

Great Walks Hut

People cooking in the Luxmore Hut, New Zealand

Daniel cooking in the Luxmore Hut (one of New Zealand’s Great Walks huts.)

There are 10 Great Walks in New Zealand. The huts along these trails are known to be the most luxurious and the most expensive. Expect to pay between $15-$70 NZD per person per night to stay in one of these huts. Prices depend on the season and the specific hut.

You need to book your stay at these huts in advance online. You can also expect mattresses, running water, gas and cooking stove, places to wash your hands and dishes, heating, and many have a designated hut warden.

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Some of the Great Walks huts resemble hotels rather than hotels! That’s right, they are that nice!

The Great Walks season runs from the end of October until the end of April, and during this time is when the huts are the busiest and most expensive.

You can check all prices for huts on Great Walks on the DOC website.

Serviced Huts

the kitchen in the Pouakai Hut, New Zealand

The kitchen area in the Pouakai Hut – a serviced hut in New Zealand.

Serviced huts are similar to the Great Walks huts in terms of facilities, but most don’t supply gas or cookers (some do such as the Mueller Hut). They are often well kept though with a live-in hut warden, or at the very least, regular staff cleaning.

The biggest difference between serviced huts and Great Walks huts is the price. Serviced huts cost a flat rate of $15 NZD per adult per night ($7.50 for children.)

Some serviced huts need to be booked online in advance, while others simply require a general serviced hut pass and are first-come-first-serve.

Standard Huts

Shallow bay hut

Shallow Bay Hut is located on the Kepler Track and it is a standard hut.

These huts are even more basic yet. You’ll find mattresses for sleeping, a water supply (likely in the form of a tank outside of the hut), and pit toilets.

While the DOC manages these huts, there will not be a warden on-site and it will be the responsibility of hikers to clean up after themselves. Only on rare occasions will rangers come and tidy up the hut. Basically, I’m saying, don’t expect the most spotless shut you’ve ever seen.

Standard huts are pretty much all first come first serve. They only cost $5 NZD per adult per night and $2.50 for youth.

Free Huts

Sam Summers Hut in New Zealand

Sam Summers hut located on Mt Crichton Loop Track just outside of Queenstown is free to stay at.

Free huts are the roughest huts. They are practically unmanaged and have very few facilities. Expect a roof over your head and not much more. But hey, what more can you ask for when they are free?!

15 Most Iconic and Beautiful Huts in New Zealand

With 950 different huts spread across New Zealand, it might seem like a challenge to narrow it down to the best ones worth visiting. So with the help of a couple of other avid hikers, I’ve compiled this epic list of the absolute best New Zealand huts.

Each hut on this list has been chosen for a specific reason. It might be because of its incredible location, or maybe, its luxurious facilities or interesting history. Regardless, each hut is special for its own reason and you’re about to find out what that is.

1. Mueller Hut

Close up of the Mueller Hut, New Zealand

The Mueller Hut makes staying overnight in the winter possible!

Location: In Mount Cook National Park at the end of the Mueller Route (also known as the Mueller Hut Hike.) From the parking lot, it is a 5.2-kilometer (3.2 miles) hike up 1,050 meters (3,444 feet) in elevation. The hut is located in an alpine environment with views of Mount Cook, the Hooker Valley, and Mueller Lake.

Type of hut: The Mueller Hut is a serviced hut.

Facilities: There is a large kitchen area complete with picnic tables and kitchen counters, a non-flush toilet outside, water from a tap that you need to boil before using (that freezes in winter), gas with cookers, and solar lights. There is no heating or power.

Number of beds: 28 bunk beds

How to book the hut: From May 1 to mid-November simply go to the visitor center in Mount Cook Village on the day of your hike to pay for the hut pass. All other times of the year you must book your stay on the DOC website well in advance.

Epic views from the Mueller Hut at sunrise!

Why is the hut special: The views of Mount Cook National Park from the Mueller Hut are seriously insane! Watching the sunset from the comfort of the hut’s kitchen windows is nothing short of extraordinary.

A tip for visiting: The Mueller Hut is very busy in the summer months and must be booked well in advance. It is one of the few huts in New Zealand that is open in winter and the best part is you don’t need to book the hut in advance (just be sure to ask the visitor center about avalanche risks before you leave, some days are safer than others to hike.)

We’ve written a ton about visiting Mount Cook National Park including specific topics like how to choose the best Mt Cook helicopter ride and we even revealed where the best photo locations are in Mt Cook!

2. Pouakai Hut

view of the outside of the Pouakai Hut

The Pouakai Hut

Location: The Pouakai Hut is located on the Pouakai Circuit hiking trail in Egmont National Park. From the parking lot on Mangoeri Road, it is a 6-kilometer (3.7 miles) hike that is mostly uphill gaining 700 meters (2,300 feet) in elevation. After spending a night in the hut you can continue on to complete the entire circuit or just return back down the way you came (the most popular route.)

Type of hut: The Pouakai Hut is a serviced hut.

Facilities: There are two pit toilets, cold water from a tap just outside of the hut, a wood burner for heat, and mattresses on the bunks.

Number of beds: 16 bunk beds

How to book the hut: The Pouakai Hut requires booking all year round. Book online on the DOC website to secure your bed.

Cost: $15.00 per night per adult, $7.50 per night for youth (11–17 years), children are free.

Pouakai Hut on our New Zealand road trip on the north island

View of Mount Taranaki is only a short walk from the hut.

Why is the hut special: Just a short walk from the Pouakai Hut is the Pouakai Tarn. This is one of the most photographed lakes in New Zealand and it offers a beautiful reflection of Mount Taranaki.

A tip for visiting: If the hut is fully booked, consider packing your tent and camping. They have a camping area very close to the hut and the views of Mount Taranaki from there are even better than from the hut. You can read about it with our Pouaki Hut link above.

3. Brewster Hut

The Brewster Hut, New Zealand

The views on a clear day are even nicer! Photo by Hamish Mckay @wildwildernesswanderers

Location: You’ll find the Brewster Hut on the Brewster Track in Mount Aspiring National Park. From the parking lot on State Highway 6, it is a 5-kilometer-long (3.1 miles) hike that takes most people around 3-4 hours to complete (one way.)

Type of hut: The Brewster Hut is a serviced hut.

Facilities: The Brewster Hut has mattresses on bunk beds, a water supply from the tap (boil before using), and non-flush toilets.

Number of beds: 12 bunk beds

How to book the hut: If visiting between December 1 and April 30, you will have to book the hut online in advance. If visiting between the beginning of May and the end of November, bookings are not required. However, fees still apply and you must visit a DOC office before you leave to get a payment receipt. This receipt will be collected at the hut or deposited into an honesty box (depending on if a ranger is present or not.)

Cost: $30 per night per adult ($40/night starting July 1st, 2022), $10.00 per night for youth (5–17 years) ($20/night starting July 1st, 2022), children are free.

Why is the hut special: The Brewster Track is one of the most beautiful hikes on the South Island. Spending a night at the hut allows you more time to enjoy the track – plus the views from the hut are really spectacular!

A tip for visiting: Near the parking lot is Fantail Falls, a waterfall worth checking out before or after the hike. Also nearby on the same road are Thunder Creek Falls and the Blue Pools – two of the best places to visit on the South Island. Give yourself some time to properly explore this stunning area.

4. Luxmore Hut

The Luxmore Hut on the Kepler Track, New Zealand

The Luxmore Hut on the Kepler Track, New Zealand

Location: The Luxmore Hut is located on the Kepler Track (one of the 10 Great Walks in New Zealand.) From the designated parking lot it is a 13.8-kilometer-long (8.6 miles) hike to the hut that takes most people 4-6 hours to complete. The hut is located within Fiordland National Park and the track to get there is very close to the town of Te Anau.

Type of hut: The Luxmore Hut is a Great Walks hut.

Facilities: The Luxmore Hut is luxurious! In the large kitchen you’ll find running water in the sinks, gas, and stovetops, plenty of seating, heating, and even lighting. The bathrooms are inside and have running water from the taps as well as toilets that flush (yes!) You should also note that outside of the Great Walks season (end of October until the end of April) some facilities are not available and you should bring your own gas and cooker to cook with.

Number of beds: 54 bunk beds

How to book the hut: During the Great Walks season (end of October until the end of April), the hut must be booked in advance online. You should book the hut months in advance to avoid missing out. Outside of the Great Walks season, the fees are to be paid before you start the hike at a DOC visitor office. The closest one is located in Te Anau.

Cost: During the Great Walks season it costs $68 per adult per night to stay overnight in the Luxmore Hut while international adults will run $102 per person, per night. Those under 18 are free For NZ residents under 18 the cost is free but for those who are international, it will cost $51. Outside of the Great Walks season from 1 July to 25 October, all adults pay $15 per night, and from 1 May to 30 June it costs $25/night, during both of these time frames all children are free.

A Kea hangs outside the Luxmore Hut in New Zealand

You will most definitely see a couple of Keas if you spend the night in the Luxmore Hut.

Why is the hut special: The views of Lake Te Anau and the Southern Alps are panoramic and stunning. There are also some pretty neat caves to explore nearby, Keas (an alpine parrot) often visit the hut, and it is very comfortable with plenty of facilities.

A tip for visiting: The Luxmore Hut is one of the most popular huts in New Zealand, and as such often is fully booked for the entire Great Walks season within hours of the booking system opening each year. If this is the case for you, use NZ Huts booking service, they will notify you as cancellations come through for your selected booking dates – such a helpful service!

A fun way to start and end your hike on the Kepler Track is with a pick-up and drop-off by a water taxi from Te Anau! This reliable and convenient service is the perfect way to access the trailhead and relax your tired legs when you are finished.

5. Moturau Hut

The outside of the Moturau hut in New Zealand

The Moturau Hut is one of the nicest huts in New Zealand, plus it’s super easy to access!

Location: On the Kepler Track in Fiordland National Park. From the Kepler Track parking lot, it is a 15.5-kilometer (9.6 miles) hike that is fairly flat and easy. From the Rainbow Reach parking lot, it is even shorter at 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) which only takes most people only 1-2 hours.

Type of hut: The Moturau Hut is a Great Walks Hut.

Facilities: The facilities at the Moturau Hut includes gas for cooking and heating (Great Walks season only), lighting in common areas, flush toilets that you need to walk outside to use, running water in both the kitchen and bathrooms, and mattresses on the bunks.

Number of beds: 40 bunk beds

How to book the hut: During the Great Walks season (end of October until the end of April), the hut must be booked in advance online. You should book the hut months in advance to avoid missing out. Outside of the Great Walks season, the fees are to be paid before you start the hike at a DOC visitor office. The closest one is located in Te Anau.

Cost: During the Great Walks season (end of October to end of April) it costs $68 per adult per night to stay overnight in the Luxmore Hut (under 18’s are free). For international visitors, it is $102 per adult and $51 a night per child. Outside of the Great Walks season, adults pay $15 per night.

The hut warden giving his daily nature and history speech at Moturau Hut

The hut warden gave us all a speech about the nature and history of the area. It was super entertaining!

Why is the hut special: It is located right on Lake Manapouri. Also, the hut warden during the Great Walks season is famed for being hilarious and offering entertaining information sessions about the history of the area.

A tip for visiting: Moturau Hut is the least booked hut on the Kepler Track (many people hiking the entire track skip it completely.) For that reason, you probably could snag a fairly last-minute booking and just hike to the hut from Rainbow Reach to spend one night in the hut. This would make for a fun overnight adventure and since the hike is easy, it would be suitable for families too.

As mentioned above for the Luxmore Hut, there is the option to book a water taxi to get you to the Kepler Track trailhead to reach the Moturau Hut since they have the same starting point. Why not make your entrance and return a bit more fun?

6. John Coull Hut

Kayaking on the Whanganui Journey, New Zealand

On the Whanganui Journey!

Location: The middle of nowhere. No seriously, the only way to get to John Coull Hut is by canoe or boat on the Whanganui River. It is located in Whanganui National Park you can reach it by canoe or kayak from the road access points along the river at Taumarunui (94.5 kilometers (58.7 miles) downstream) or Whakahoro (37.5 kilometers (23.3 miles) downstream.) Paddling this river is actually one of the Great Walks in NZ (even though it’s not actually a “walk” at all) and it’s called the Whanganui Journey.

Type of hut: John Coull Hut is Great Walks Huts.

Facilities: John Coull Hut has mattresses, a water supply from the tap (boil before using), non-flush toilets, heating, and cooking facilities. It’s important to note that some facilities are not available outside of the Great Walks seasons (cooking and heating in particular.)

Number of beds: 24 bunk beds

How to book the hut: During the Great Walks season, the hut must be booked in advance online. Outside of the Great Walks season, the fees are to be paid before you start the Whanganui Journey at a DOC visitor office. Bring the payment receipt with you when you stay in the hut.

Cost: During the Great Walks season it costs $30 per adult per night to stay overnight in John Coull Hut (under 18’s are $15 for international tourists or free for locals.) Outside of the Great Walks season, all adults pay $15 per night and those under 18 are free.

Why is the hut special: This is one of the most isolated huts in New Zealand. It is located right on the river where you can go for a swim and simply relax. No cell phone service here, just the sound of the Whanganui River and lots of birds.

A tip for visiting: If you’re not experienced in a kayak or canoe, I recommend doing the shorter 3-day version of the Whanganui Journey. This route starts at Whakahoro and you’ll stay in John Coull Hut on your first night. This is what I did!

7. Mintaro Hut

Mintaro Hut – a popular place to stay on the iconic Milford Track.

Location: Within Fiordland National Park on the famous Milford Track. Mintaro Hut is where most people stay on day two of their 4-day Milford Track hike. It’s located 21.5 kilometers (13.4 miles) from Glade Warf (the starting point of the hike.)

Type of hut: Great Walks hut.

Facilities: In the large kitchen you’ll find running water in the sinks (boil before drinking), gas stovetops, plenty of seating, heating, and even lighting. The bathrooms have running water from the taps as well as toilets that flush. You should also note that outside of the Great Walks season some facilities are not available and you should bring your own gas and cooker to cook with.

Number of beds: 40 bunk beds

How to book the hut: During the Great Walks season (end of October until the end of April), the hut must be booked in advance online. You should book the hut months in advance to avoid missing out. Outside of the Great Walks season, the fees are to be paid before you start the hike at a DOC visitor office. The closest one is located in Te Anau.

Cost: During the Great Walks season (end of October to end of April) it costs $78 per adult per night to stay overnight in the Mintaro Hut and international adults are $110. New Zealand residents under the age of 18 are free, but international visitors must pay $55. Outside of the Great Walks season, adults pay $15 per night and those under 18 are all free.

A hiker walks the Milford Sound Track

Deep valleys on the Milford Track.

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Why is the hut special: The Mintaro Hut is the highest elevation hut on the Milford Track. It offers views of Mount Balloon’s towering cliffs that often are covered in waterfalls during rainfall. It was also completely redone in 2020 so it is nice and new and comfortable!

A tip for visiting: The Milford Track huts are almost impossible to book during the Great Walks season. Seriously, it fully books every year within a couple of hours of the booking system opening. Consider using the website NZ Huts to secure your bookings if you find it is already full. They will notify you of cancellations, which happen frequently. Otherwise, be sure to know when the bookings open and be ready on your computer to book straight away!

8. Liverpool Hut

outside-the-liverpool-hut

The Liverpool Hut is a really special place to spend a night.

Location: From Raspberry Creek car parking lot on Wanaka Mt Aspiring Road, the hut is 15 km (9.3 mi) via the Liverpool Track. If coming from the Aspiring Hut, the Liverpool Hut is 6 km (3.7 mi) via the Liverpool Track.

Type of hut: The Liverpool Hut is a serviced hut.

Facilities: The Liverpool Hut has mattresses, a water supply from the tap (boil before using), non-flush toilets, and handwashing facilities.

Number of beds: 10 bunk beds

How to book the hut: If visiting between late October (Labour Weekend) and April 30, you will have to book your stay online in advance. If visiting between the beginning of May and the end of October, bookings are not required, however, fees will still be collected at the hut.

Cost: The fees are $20 per night for adults, $10 per night for NZ Alpine Club members and youth, and free admission for children (0-10 years).

Why is the hut special: The Liverpool Hut sits in a spectacular location, nestled on a small alpine basin. The trail leading to the hut offers fabulous views of Mount Aspiring to the north and the Matukuituki Valley to the west.

A tip for visiting: Try to arrive at the hut earlier in the day as while bookings are required, some hikers without a reservation may get past the park rangers along the trail and take your bunk.

Contributed by Ellie from Ellie’s Travel Tips

9. Bark Bay Hut

The Bark Bay Swing Birdge nearby the Bark Bay Hut

This swing bridge is what the Bark Bay Hut is known for.

Location: Bark Bay Hut is next to the Bark Bay campground in the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park. No cars are allowed in Abel Tasman National Park, so you’ll need to access the hut either by walking or by taking a water taxi from Kaiteriteri Beach. There is a scheduled water-taxi stop in Bark Bay.

Type of hut: It’s a Great Walk Hut.

Facilities: The hut is basic with a wood-burner for heating, bunk beds, and flushing toilets. There are no gas cooking facilities or lighting, so you’ll need to bring candles and a portable stove and fuel with you. There’s a large lounge area, deck, and picnic tables outside. There’s also WiFi, filtered water, and a charging station available.

Number of beds: 34 bunks between two rooms.

How to book the hut: The hut needs to be booked in advance and bookings can be made online through the DOC website.

Cost: Fees are $42 a night per adult from October – April (international adults pay $56 per night), $32 per night from May – September, and $26 per night in July and August. New Zealand residents under 18 stay for free. International visitors under 18 pay $32 a night from October – April and can stay for free during all other months.

woman in a sleeping bag in a bunk bed withing a new zealand hut

Yes, some of the bunk beds in New Zealand are in an attached row like this. Bark Bay Hut is set up like this.

Why is the hut special: The hut is on a beautiful stretch of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. It has lovely sea views while being tucked into the bush. The beach is only a couple of hundred meters away from the hut.

A tip for visiting: Be sure to book well in advance as this hut is popular for school trips and camps as well as for people walking the Abel Tasman Coastal Track.

10. Waihohonu Hut

Daniel sitting at a table at the Waihohonu Hut

The Waihohonu Hut is the nicest hut on the Tongariro Circuit.

Location: Waihohonu Hut is located on the Tongariro Northern Circuit within Tongariro National Park. From Whakapapa Village it is either a 15.4-kilometer-long walk (9.6 miles) or a 29.8-kilometer-long (18.5 miles) walk depending on which direction you are walking the circuit. For this reason, it is a hut most people stay at either on their first or last night on the Tongariro Circuit.

Type of hut: Great Walk hut.

Facilities: During the Great Walks season the Waihohonu Hut has gas cooking facilities, heating, bunk beds, a resident hut warden, and non-flushing toilets. Gas and heating are not available outside of the Great Walks season.

Number of beds: 28 bunk beds

How to book the hut: During the Great Walks season (end of October until the end of April), the hut must be booked in advance online. Outside of the Great Walks season, the fees are to be paid before you start the hike at a DOC visitor office.

Cost: Fees are $37 a night per adult during the Great Walks season and $15 per night during all other months. New Zealand residents under 18 stay for free. International adults will pay $56 per night from October – April and internationals under 18 pay $28 a night and can stay for free during all other months.

Tongoriro National Park

One of the viewpoint on the Tongariro Circuit – where you’ll find Waihohonu Hut.

Why is the hut special: The Waihohonu Hut is the most luxurious hut on the Tongariro Crossing. This hike is spectacular and one I highly suggest everyone does while in New Zealand. Volcanoes, bright blue lakes, and Lord of the Rings film locations are just some of the highlights. And this hut, well it is the perfect place to relax for a night after a long day of hiking.

A tip for visiting: There is a really nice wood-burning fireplace in this hut! Be sure to get it started if the hut warden hasn’t already – makes for the perfect warm place to enjoy your dinner and socialize with other hikers.

11. Routeburn Falls Hut

Routeburn Falls hut

Not a bad view from the hut!

Location: The Routeburn Falls Hut on the Routeburn Track in Mount Aspiring National Park. From Routeburn Shelter (near Glenorchy) it is a 9.8-kilometer (6 miles) hike. For this reason, it is usually the first or last hut people stay at when completing the Routeburn Track (depending on where they start the trail.)

Type of hut: Great Walks hut.

Facilities: During the Great Walks season you’ll find gas cooking facilities, heating, lighting, bunk beds, a resident hut warden, and flushing toilets. Gas and heating are not available outside of the Great Walks season. This hut also has a large outside balcony with a view over the valley which is amazing!

Number of beds: 48 bunk beds

How to book the hut: During the Great Walks season, the hut must be booked in advance online. Outside of the Great Walks season, the fees are to be paid before you start the hike at a DOC visitor office.

Cost: Fees are $68 a night per adult during the Great Walks season from November through April ($102 nightly per international adult and $51 nightly per child), $15 per night during July and October, and $25 in May and June. New Zealand residents under 18 stay for free all year. International visitors under 18 can stay for free during all months outside of the Great Walks season.

Bailey hiking the the Routeburn track near the Routeburn Falls Hut

Hiking just past the Routeburn Falls Hut.

Why is the hut special: To be honest, I’ve never stayed in this hut, but I have visited it on several occasions and even cooked lunch there before. It is a beautiful hut with tons of space. There are different rooms for sleeping, the bathrooms are clean and modern, and the kitchen is huge! The balcony overlooking the valley has some of the best views along the Routeburn Track. Even if you don’t want to hike the entire Routeburn Track, I recommend hiking up to the Routeburn Falls hut, spending one night, and then returning back to your car the next day.

A tip for visiting: If you aren’t hiking the entire Routeburn Track (only hiking to this hut and back again) be sure to walk a little further past the hut to the Routeburn Falls and Harris Saddle. These are both highlights along the trail and make staying in the hut totally worth it!

If you’re visiting New Zealand in the winter here is how to hike the Routeburn Track in the winter!

12. Pinnacles Hut

bunk beds in the pinnacles hut in new zealand

This hut has tons of bunks and makes for a fun place to meet other hikers and travelers!

Location: In the Coromandel. The Pinnacles Hut is one of the best huts on the North Island. To get to the hut you must hike 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from the parking lot on Kauaeranga Road to reach the hut. This is known as the Pinnacles Walk (or formally called Kauaeranga Kauri Trail.)

Type of hut: Serviced hut.

Facilities: The hut is huge with tons of beds and rooms, cooking facilities, heating, lighting, non-flush toilets, and during the summer season, a resident hut warden.

Number of beds: 80 bunk beds!

How to book the hut: The Pinnacles Hut must be booked in advance. It’s best to book online, however for an extra $10 fee you can book in person or on the phone.

Cost: $25 per night per adult, $12.50 per night for youth (5–17 years), children are free.

Views from the Pinnacles Hut

Pinnacles hut!

Why is the hut special: The Pinnacles Walk is one of the most unique hikes in New Zealand. It has you climbing up a historic route used by kauri bushmen in the 1920s. You’ll pass Billy Goat Falls on the way and once at the hut, the view of the Coromandel from above is stunning.

A tip for visiting: Be sure to visit the Coromandel Lookout near the hut for sunrise. This is when the view is the best!

Related Read: While you’re in the Coromandel region be sure to visit both Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach. Both of these are some of the best beaches in New Zealand!

13. Cape Brett Hut

Capr Brett Hut, New Zealand

The Cape Brett Hut!

Location: At the end of Cape Brett Track in the Bay of Islands in Northland. You must walk 16.3 kilometers (10.1 miles) to reach this hut. The trailhead is located a 30-kilometer (18.6 miles) drive from the town of Russell, otherwise, you can take a water taxi from either Russell or Paihia.

Type of hut: Serviced hut.

Facilities: Beds, a basic kitchen area (bring your own cooking equipment), and non-flush toilets. Water must be boiled before use, and sometimes during the summer months the water runs out, so be sure to check this with DOC before you leave and bring enough water if that is the case.

Number of beds: 23 bunk beds

How to book the hut: Cape Brett Hut must be booked in advance. It’s best to book online, however for an extra $10 fee you can book in person or on the phone.

Cost: $15 per night per adult, $7.50 per night for youth (11–17 years), children are free. All hikers must also pay a track fee which helps maintain the track (which is on Maori land). This fee is an additional $40 per adult and $20 per child.

Photo of the views along the Cape Brett Walkway in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Photo of the views along the Cape Brett Walkway in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Why is the hut special: Cape Brett Hut is actually a restored lighthouse keeper’s home. It is unique as it is located in one of the hottest regions in New Zealand known for its amazing beaches and islands.

A tip for visiting: Cape Brett Track is known as a challenging hike. Be sure you are up for the challenge (especially in the warm summer months) and bring plenty of water!

Related Read: While you’re in the area be sure to check out all of the best things to do in the Bay of Islands!

14. Aspiring Hut

Views along the West Matukituki Track, New Zealand

Views along the West Matukituki Track, New Zealand

Location: Aspiring Hut is located in the Matukituki Valley within Mount Aspiring National Park on the South Island. The closest town to Aspiring Hut is Wanaka, an hour’s drive away. This hut boasts epic views of Mount Aspiring, which is often covered in snow! It is accessible via the West Matukituki Track, a 6-hour (17.2 kilometers) one-way track, but the walk to the hut will take about 2.5 hours along this track. The trail is rated as intermediate/advanced and starts from the Raspberry Creek car park.

Type of Hut: Aspiring Hut is a serviced hut

Facilities: there is a decent-sized dining/cooking area with picnic tables, a kitchen counter as well as a food storage area. There is a non-flush toilet, water from a tap that you must boil before using, gas cooking facilities, as well as a wood burner for heat (you will need to bring your own newspaper/ firelighters/ matches to light the wood burner). This hut is solar-powered. It’s important to note that from May to late October there are no cooking facilities available at Aspiring Hut.

Number of beds: 27 bunk beds

How to book the hut: From May 1st to late October no booking is required and bunks are on a first-come-first-served basis. From early November to the end of April bookings are required and can be booked online here. It’s important to note that a $10 service fee applies to all phone, email, and in-person reservations at Mount Aspiring Visitor Centre.

Cost: for stays between 1st November to 30th April – $40 per night per adult, $15 for children aged 11-17 years, children under 11 are free. For stays between 1st May to late October – $25 per night per adult, $15 for children aged 11-17 years, those under 11 are free.

Why is the hut special: the views of both the Matukituki Valley and Mount Aspiring are breathtaking, especially when there’s still a dusting of snow on the top of the mountains.

A tip for visiting: the start of the track to Aspiring Hut is just 60 kilometers (37.2 miles) from the scenic town of Wanaka, there are loads to do in Wanaka, so it’s advisable to spend a night or two here before or after your hike.

15. Sunrise Hut

Location: the Sunrise Hut is located at the top of the Ruahine mountain range in Ruahine Forest Park, which is near the town of Hawkes Bay on the North Island. The hut can be accessed via two walking tracks. The first and the easiest is the 6.4-kilometer (4 miles) Sunrise Track which is rated as easy and will take most people 2-3 hours to complete. The second is a much more difficult hike – the Smiths Stream Hut Track is an advanced track and takes approximately 4 hours (6 kilometers) each way. Both tracks start from the North Block Road car park.

Type of Hut: Sunrise Hut is a serviced hut

Facilities: there is a kitchen counter with sinks, two picnic-style tables for dining, a long drop toilet, a tanked water supply, and a wood burner for heat. There are no cooking facilities at Sunrise Hut here but it is possible to use the wood burner as a cooker..

Number of beds: 20 bunk beds

How to book the hut: for stays between late October to 30th April you can book online here. It’s important to note that a $10 service fee applies to all phone, email, and in-person reservations at the Napier Visitor Centre. Outside of these dates, the hut operates on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Cost: for stays from Sunday to Friday – $15 per adult per night, $7.50 per night for children between 11 and 17 years, under 10’s are free. For a Saturday night stay – $20 per adult per night, $10 per child between 11-17 years, and children under 10 are free.

Why is the hut special: because the hut is situated at 1280 meters (4,200 feet) above sea level, there are excellent views from here of the Hawke’s Bay area. In fact, the sunrises from this hut are exceptional. In addition, in the winter, there is typically snow on the ground around the hut!
A tip for visiting: from Sunrise Hut you can hike up to the Armstrong Saddle for great views of Mount Ruapehu. The hike will take 30 minutes each way. Beware though, it can get pretty windy up on the saddle.

Thanks for reading!

two people standing outside a hut in New Zealand

Thanks for reading! Enjoy staying in the best huts in New Zealand!

There really are some special huts in New Zealand. Not only do huts make overnight hikes easier and more comfortable, but they are located in some of the most beautiful locations in New Zealand!

I hope this blog has helped you add a few New Zealand huts to your bucket list. If you have any questions, please comment below so we can try and help you. Otherwise, be sure to check out some of our most popular blogs about hiking and New Zealand:

Source https://newzealandtrails.com/news/ultimate-nz-hiking-guide/

Source https://wildlandtrekking.com/blog/top-hut-to-hut-hikes-in-new-zealand/

Source https://destinationlesstravel.com/new-zealand-huts-backcountry/

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