Booking system started for DOC huts
A seasonal booking system will combat overcrowding at the Department of Conservation’s popular Rangiwahia and Sunrise huts.
The department is implementing the system for beds at the two shacks located in the tussock-tops of the Ruahine Forest Park.
Rangiwahia Hut has 13 bunk beds on the western side of the park. It’s a two to three-hour walk through the forest and emerges out of tussock just above the bush line, offering scenic views across the Manawatu¯ and Rangitı¯kei districts, and across the Central Plateau.
Sunrise Hut has 20 bunk beds on the eastern side of the park. The two to three-hour walk takes visitors through changing forest types to reach open land at the top. The hut sits in a tussock basin, with views across the Hawke’s Bay plains and is a good spot to watch the sunrise, which is where it gets its name.
The department’s Manawatu¯ district operations manager Duncan Toogood believed the booking system would manage overcrowding and encourage new people to get into the outdoors.
The huts won’t be locked, and shelter in a storm was guaranteed, Toogood said.
‘‘Safety is our No.1 priority. If you’re out on the track and the weather starts to turn, it’s important to know that you can always seek shelter at these huts.’’
The friendly tracks made them ideal for young families, groups and newer trampers, Toogood said.
Bookable beds were trialled at the huts last summer, which proved successful and meant the booking system would improve visitor experience, Toogood said.
Warmer, more settled weather - from Labour Weekend to the end of April - encouraged families and less experienced trampers to dust off their boots and head for the hills, Toogood said.
‘‘I love exploring the outdoors with my family, but as a parent, I need to know my kids will have a place to sleep after their big adventure,’’ Toogood said.
Hut wardens will periodically monitor throughout the season.
Bookings can be made at on the department’s website.
A seasonal booking system will combat overcrowding at Rangiwahia and Sunrise huts.