The huts and campsites along Te Araroa

There are plenty of huts on the South Island section of Te Araroa. All the same, you obviously need to take a tent. In the north, huts are way more common than found in the North Island section.

From Ships Cove in the north, there are a few days camping before you reach the first hut, Captain Creek in the Pelorus, a standard New Zealand Forest Service-built hut of which there are many similar as you travel south.

The huts, at least until Hamilton Hut, south of Arthurs Pass, are well spaced, often four or five hours apart, often you can skip one during the long summer days. The longest gap here is between Blue Lake Hut in Nelson Lakes National Park and Anne Hut on the St James Walkway, with the new six-bunk Waiau Hut along the way. Caroline Creek Bivvy which may be shown on maps has been removed.

South of Hamilton Hut the huts become vastly more sporadic and they change in character. They are often old musterer’s huts, built when sheep were more common along the route, for the most part they had been removed from the higher country due to the damage done to the vegetation, that’s the sheep not the huts. But you won’t be having tent-free accommodation every night.

South of the Takitimu Range in Southland, well, there’s just the one hut in the last 180 km and camping is required.

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A Frame Hut | Hakatere Conservation Park

A Frame Hut might come in handy if the weather packs it in.

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Albert Town campsite | Albert Town, near Wanaka

The Albert Town campsite is across the Clutha from Albert Town | Albert Town DOC campsite, Wanaka

Right on the Clutha River it’s, err, a cheaper alternative to staying in Wanaka. There’s a more secluded campsite 1 km further north along Te Araroa towards Lake Hawea that may be preferable.

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Anne Hut | St James Conservation Area

Anne Hut, St James Walkway, North Canterbury

Anne Hut is a brand new hut built to a Five Star standard, in a different location, after the old Anne Hut was burned down.

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Aparima Hut — new | Takitimu Conservation Area

It’s the new Aparima Hut but not that new, maybe 30+ years old. Well sited on a clearing high above the river and right next door to the old one.

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Aparima Hut — old | Takitimu Conservation Area

Aparima Hut is an old hunter’s hut built in the 1950s that can still be used if the newer hut adjacent has too many inhabitants.

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Bay of Many Coves campsite | Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough Sounds

At first sight the Bay of Many Coves campsite doesn’t look so special but there are a few splendid sites in the manuka behind the shelter. Actually these are probably the most pleasant camp sites on the entire Queen Charlotte Walkway.

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Bealey Hut | Arthurs Pass National Park

Bealey Hut is an old NZFS-style hut that has had its fireplace removed but is otherwise in fair nick.

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Black Rock campsite | Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough Sounds

A great view to be had at the Black Rock campsite, on the top of the ridge, looking straight over to Picton, you can watch the ferries comings and goings.

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Blue Lake Hut | Nelson Lakes National Park

interior at Blue Lake Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park

Short walk, ie, 5 minutes to the remarkable, unforgettable, Blue Lake where you can see for yourself the clearest freshwater in the universe.

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Boundary Hut | Mavora Lakes Conservation Area

No firewood nearby, no heating provided but otherwise a cosy feel.

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Boyle Flat Hut | St James Conservation Area

Boyle Flat Hut, St James Walkway

Boyle Flat Hut is just over the swing bridge across the Boyle River on a small grassy flat, kinda needing a bit of DOC love and attention but comfortable enough, at least when not at full capacity.

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Browning Hut | Mt Richmond Forest Park

Browning Hut in Mt Richmond Forest Park

Set on a sunny clearing, if it’s sunny, before you start the climb up to, or when you finish your descent from, Totara Saddle.

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Cameron Hut | Lake Sumner Forest Park

Cameron Hut, Harpers Pass route, North Canterbury

Cameron Hut is from 1955, with plenty of character, ie, the concrete floor doesn’t extend under the bunks where it’s just 60-year-old dirt, there’s a fireplace, and graffiti stretching back in time, hut users from decades past.

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Camp Bay campsite | Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough Sounds

The Camp Bay campsite is down by the water, Endeavour Inlet, but not actually with specific water views, at least from your campsite.

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Camp Stream Hut | Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park

Camp Stream Hut is an 1898 musterers’ hut that has been DOC-ified over the years, bunks and mattresses added.

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Captain Creek Hut | Mt Richmond Forest Park

Captains Creek Hut, Pelorus River, Mt Richmond Forest Park

Set on a river flat above the magnificent Pelorus River, you can swim on a summer’s day.

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Careys Hut | Mavora Lakes Conservation Area

Careys Hut is an older hut at the northern end of the North Mavora Lake suffers from the evils that befall huts with 4WD and/or boat access, and this hut has both: plenty of rubbish, and a disappearing axe and broom.

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Caroline Creek Bivvy | Waiau River, North Canterbury

Caroline Creek Bivvy, Waiau River, North Canterbury

Removed on 22 March 2022.

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Comyns Hut | Hakatere Conservation Park

Comyns Hut is the hut at northern end the famous “71 river crossings in an afternoon” that are either just completed, or to be contemplated.

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Cowshed Bay campsite | Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough Sounds

You will find two substantial kitchen structures, water at the sinks, flush toilets, and, typical DOC style, almost level camping areas that you may, or may not, be able to fix your tent pegs in.

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Crooked Spur Hut | Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park

Crooked Spur Hut is another one of the character filled, old musterers’ huts that populate this part of Te Araroa.

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Davies Bay campsite | Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough Sounds

Flush toilets, and a zany kitchen shelter that has a water tank and some benching, and a choice of two camping areas, one by the water, not close to the facilities and another with almost level camping sites, surrounded by regenerating scrub. What more do you need?

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Double Hut | Hakatere Conservation Park

Lots of character here, including plenty of historic graffiti on the internal walls.

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Emerald Pool campsite | Mt Richmond Forest Park

The top of the actual Emerald Pool, it is bigger and deeper than it looks here.  | Emerald Pool campsite, Mt Richmond Forest Park

Emerald Pool campsite may not be classed as an official DOC camping area, but there’s no actual restriction here. Not much in the way facilities, but for the experienced camper there’s most of what you need: a flat area to pitch your tent, flowing water nearby, and the jackpot, a picnic table.

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Fern Burn Hut | Mt Soho Station Pastoral Lease

Closest to Wanaka and therefore the most accessible on the Motatapu Track, Fern Burn Hut has a reasonable number of daytrippers and overnighters who don’t want to commit to the full expedition.

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Goat Pass Hut | Arthurs Pass National Park

Goat Pass Hut has a great location, one of the more spectacular around. And a reasonable level of amenity, other than a lack of heating.

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Greenstone Hut | Greenstone Track / Mavora Walkway, Greenstone Conservation Area

The hut is a fairly compact structure.  | Greenstone Hut, Greenstone Track

Greenstone Hut is similar in style to the new Mid Caples Hut, ie, generous in space, firedoors on the two separate sleeping areas, double glazing, bigtime insulation, taps inside the hut, at least during summer, otherwise you need to go outside to the rainwater tank. And the big picture windows.

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Hacket Hut | Mt Richmond Forest Park

Hacket Hut, Mt Richmond Forest Park interior
Refurbished hut near the new swingbridge.
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Hamilton Hut | Craigieburn Forest Park

Hamilton Hut is surprisingly spacious accommodation, with two separate sleeping areas and an enormous central fireplace that is not used but houses a large firebox.

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Harper Pass Bivvy | Lake Sumner Forest Park

Harper Pass bivvy, Harper Pass route, North Canterbury

Harper Pass Bivvy is a tiny box, frigid for much of the year, not so far from the summit of Harper Pass, that can accommodate two close friends.

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Highland Creek Hut | Mt Soho Station Pastoral Lease

Highland Creek Hut has the most spectacular setting of the Motatapu huts with the same efficient design as Roses: two large sleeping platforms with mattresses, the big table and plenty of seating.

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Hope Halfway Hut | Lake Sumner Forest Park

Hope Halfway Hut, Lake Sumner

Hope Halfway Hut was once kinda halfway between a hut and a simple shelter, once you ascended the giant front door step it provided comfortable enough accommodation for those who have not managed to get all the way to the more amenity rich Hope Kiwi Lodge.

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Hope Kiwi Lodge | Lake Sumner Forest Park

Hope Kiwi Lodge, Lake Sumner

Hope Kiwi Lodge was once the outstanding hut in the area, still much used by scout groups and school parties, it’s now somewhat faded and in serious need of a makeover.

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Hunters Hut | Mt Richmond Forest Park

Hunters Hut, Alpine Route, Mt Richmond Forest Park

Somehow when a hut has a big table with seating and decent windows to look out at a view it seems your standard tramper has hit the jackpot.

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Hurunui Hut | Lake Sumner Forest Park

Hurunui Hut, Lake Sumner

Hurunui Hut is the usual everything-in-one-big-room style of DOC hut that tends to promote social interaction, if there are others about, and ain’t that what tramping in NZ is all about.

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Hurunui Hut No 3 | Lake Sumner Forest Park

Hurunui Hut no 3, Harper Pass route, North Canterbury

Yup, character+, one of the more memorable huts you will encounter, at least architecture-wise.

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John Tait Hut | Nelson Lakes National Park

John Tait Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park

Great setting for a valley floor hut, close to the Travers River with the scenic mountain backdrop of the, err, Travers Range.

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Kiwi Burn Hut | Snowdon Forest Conservation Area

Kiwi Burn Hut is a short walk up the creek and across some river flats from the Te Araroa official track and has the feel of an old 1950 school, maybe it’s those red vinyl tiles on the floor.

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Kiwi Hut | Arthurs Pass National Park

Kiwi Hut, Taramakau River

Kiwi Hut is a standard issue NZFS 8 bunker set on the edge of attractive red beech tree forest, with a fireplace, although it’s not actually standard with its curiously large airlock room.

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Klondyke Corner campsite | Arthurs Pass National Park

Across the highway are more secluded places to camp, but no water | Klondyke Corner campsite, Arthurs Pass National Park

The Klondyke Corner campsite has a basic shelter, with a roof and plenty of half height walls, ie, an excess of ventilation, and some not quite comfortable benches.

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Lagoon Saddle A-frame Hut | Craigieburn Forest Park

Lagoon Saddle A-frame Hut is one of two structures in close proximity, not exactly sure why two shelters are needed. This is the more recent of the two.

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Lagoon Saddle Hut | Craigieburn Forest Park

DOC defines Lagoon Saddle Hut as “basic” and you’d have to agree, it’s a windowless large garden shed, with a couple of mattress-less thanks and small bench.

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Lakehead Hut | Nelson Lakes National Park

Lakehead Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park

The proximity to the road means plenty of use, overuse during the busy times, both by those on the Travers-Sabine circuit, and those venturing not so far, overnighters.

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Locke Stream Hut | Arthurs Pass National Park

Locke Stream Hut, Harper Pass

Some bush construction skills are still evident, rafters, hand-hewn floor boards, etc, there’s plenty of character to soak up.

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Lower Princhester Hut | Takitimu Conservation Area

Lower Princhester Hut is a standard NZFS SF70 six bunk hut in remarkably original condition considering it’s possible to drive a 2WD car almost to the front door.

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Lower Wairaki Hut | Takitimu Conservation Area

Lower Wairaki Hut is an old NZFS four bunker in the southern Takitimus in fairly original condition.

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Macetown campsite | Macetown Historic Reserve, Motatapu Track

The Macetown campsite is under those old trees. | Macetown campsite, Arrow River near Arrowtown

Not many facilities here and a long way to get water from the Arrow River but it is a pleasant spot to put up a tent under the leafy trees.

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Manuka Hut | Hakatere Conservation Park

Just a bit off the main Te Araroa track this is another old musterers’ hut.

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Martins Hut | Longwood Forest Conservation Area

Martins Hut is the southernmost hut on Te Araroa, actually the only hut in 180 km.

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Mid Wairoa Hut | Mt Richmond Forest Park

Mid Wairoa Hut, Alpine Route, Mt Richmond Forest Park

This is a reminder of what some of the old NZFS huts were like back in the day: open fireplace, poorly orientated, galvanised steel bench top.

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Middy Creek Hut | Mt Richmond Forest Park

the hut is in a clearing | Middy Creek Hut, Mt Richmond Forest Park

One of the old style NZFS SF70 huts like the one’s either direction, Captains Creek and Middy Creek.

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Mingha Bivvy | Arthurs Pass National Park

Still useful for an emergency stop, perhaps the National Park will restore it sometime soon, although removal seems more likely.

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Mt Rintoul Hut | Mt Richmond Forest Park

Rintoul Hut, Alpine Route, Mt Richmond Forest Park

Rintoul is an old NZFS hut, well renovated, with plenty of light streaming in. That’s double nice.

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Old Man Hut | Mt Richmond Forest Park

Old Man Hut, Alpine Route, Mt Richmond Forest Park

A great little hut set in a sizeable clearing.

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Pakituhi Hut | Hawea Conservation Area

Built in 2011 to fill the gap for Te Araroa the hut already seems too small but if less than completely full is cosy enough.

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Porters Creek Hut | Mt Richmond Forest Park

Porters Creek Hut, Alpine Route, Mt Richmond Forest Park

Old hut with a good vibe and a vibrant exterior colour scheme.

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Red Hills Hut | Mt Richmond Forest Park

Red Hills Hut, Alpine Route, Mt Richmond Forest Park

Red Hills hut does have a few picture windows, for a view, all double glazed, and the big insulation keeps the passive solar accommodation warm enough, at least on a sunny day.

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Rocks Hut | Mt Richmond Forest Park

Rocks Hut, Mt Richmond Forest Park

It’s a good ‘un, complete with flushing toilets, two, a big water tank and a view into the Pelorus River valley, and, for some reason, despite its proximity to Nelson it’s not used all that much.

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Roebuck Hut | Mt Richmond Forest Park

Roebuck Hut, Alpine Route, Mt Richmond Forest Park

The hut is sited on a sunny flat above the junction of two major components of the Pelorus, swing bridges over both, and with an attractive pool just downstream. Nice.

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Rokeby Hut | St James Conservation Area

 Rokeby Hut, St James Walkway

Rokeby Hut is small, with emphasis on small. The canvas bunks are comfortable enough, kinda like sleeping in a hammock.

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Roses Hut | Mt Soho Station Pastoral Lease

These are the new breed of DOC huts, double glazed, heavily insulated and in this instance, being in tussock country and lacking in firewood, no heating.

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Royal Hut | Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park

Royal Hut is another old musterers’ hut from station days but it has the usual facilities you expect in a DOC hut.

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Schoolhouse Bay campsite | Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough Sounds

Schoolhouse Bay is somewhat lacking in amenity, no kitchen shelter here, just a tap on a post, and the campsites are deficient in one expected requirement, ie, it sure ain’t flat.

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Slaty Hut | Mt Richmond Forest Park

Slaty Hut, Alpine Route, Mt Richmond Forest Park

A standard NZFS hut from back in the day has been renovated: the open fireplace replaced with a firebox; painted inside and out; and is as comfortable as any along the route.

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Starveall Hut | Mt Richmond Forest Park

Starveall Hut, Alpine Route, Mt Richmond Forest Park

Yup, she’s a pretty nice spot and a great old hut.

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Stodys Hut | Hawea Conservation Area

Stodys is an old musterer’s hut which has been recently renovated to give it another few decades of life.

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Stone Hut | Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park

There’s part of the stone bit left, the fireplace end, but Stone Hut has been hit by avalanches in the past, not worth staying here in the winter when there is snow on the hills.

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Taipo Hut | Mavora Lakes Conservation Area

Built for the Mavora Walkway, the 1970s go at creating tramping tracks purely for recreation.

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Tarn Hut | Mt Richmond Forest Park

Tarn Hut, Alpine Route, Mt Richmond Forest Park

Set just off the main track in a sunny clearing, when it’s sunny, Tarn is another well renovated, comfy, hut.

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Telephone Hut | Braeburn Road

An historic two bunk hut that is acceptable accommodation in an emergency.

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Telford campsite | Takitimu Conservation Area

The only thing that designates Telford campsite as an actual campsite is the standard DOC fibreglass long drop over the fence in official DOC-land.

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The Pines freedom campsite | Lake Pukaki Reserve

The campsite is in amongst the pine trees right by the edge of Lake Pukaki.  | The Pines freedom campsite, Lake Pukaki Reserve

The views terrific, but if you want some seclusion you can always put your tent up in under the pine trees. The cars can’t easily drive up there.

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Tin Hut | Avonburn Station

Tin Hut is an old dusty, musty musterer’s hut that is available for use by the public. The graffiti on the hut exterior makes for interesting reading.

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Top Timaru Hut | Hawea Conservation Area

Top Timaru Hut is an old NZFS hut that has been completely transformed with a 2011 renovation, including a usefully large verandah added.

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Top Wairoa Hut | Mt Richmond Forest Park

Top Wairoa Hut, Alpine Route, Mt Richmond Forest Park

Another original, almost, NZFS hut that retains its open fireplace, a smoky experience apparently, according to the hut book, you get the fire going but have to open the door and windows. Those were the days.

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Upper Deception Hut | Arthurs Pass National Park

Upper Deception Hut | is really the Mid Deception and as the only remaining hut on the Deception River, the Lower Deception Hut was burned in the 1980s, it could even be called simply the Deception Hut.

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Upper Travers Hut | Nelson Lakes National Park

Upper Travers Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park

Nestled in a most picturesque location just under the climb to Travers Pass.

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Waiau Forks campsite | Nelson Lakes National Park

the campsite is in the trees just below the junction | Waiau Forks campsite, Nelson Lakes National Park

It’s a great spot but could do with a dunny dropped in.

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Waiau Hut | St James Conservation Area

Great view from the hut. | Waiau Hut, Waiau River, Te Araroa

A brand new hut built in 2017 to take a few of the 1000+ Te Araroa hikers now streaming over from Blue Lake via Waiau Pass.

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West Harper Hut | Craigieburn Forest Park

West Harper Hut has considerable character: bush cut structural timbers, err, no flooring provided, it’s dirt, canvas, hammock-style bunks, basically the opportunity for a trip back to the distant past.

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West Sabine Hut | Nelson Lakes National Park

West Sabine Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park

One of the huts for the Travers-Sabine circuit that is hard for many on the track to avoid staying at, Upper Travers to Sabine would be a big day, umm, unless you head up to Blue Lake.