New icon Zealand Walk: Powell Hut - A wairarapa

Walking New Zealand - - Contents - Powell Hut: A Wairarapa icon

Powell Hut, the most pop­u­lar hut in Tararua For­est Park, in the Wairarapa, of­fers spec­tac­u­lar and in­vig­o­rat­ing views. Lo­cated just above the bush­line, the stun­ning vis­tas are a fit­ting re­ward for those who com­plete the 1,200 me­tre climb up through the sur­round­ing na­tive beech for­est. Perched high on the Tararua Ranges, the iconic huts that have graced this site have been a bea­con to tired and weary tram­pers for al­most 80 years.

The orig­i­nal Powell Hut was built in 1939, and was re­built by the Hutt Val­ley Tramp­ing Club in 1981. This burnt down in 1999 and the cur­rent in­car­na­tion was built in 2000.

The cur­rent hut has suf­fered from weather tight­ness prob­lems that have weak­ened the over­all struc­ture. Powell Hut is now be­ing re­built to im­prove the struc­ture and pro­vide a bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence for vis­i­tors.

Powell Hut will be closed to all users from 1 Novem­ber 2018 un­til 30 April 2019 for the ex­ist­ing hut to be de­mol­ished and a new hut re-built.

Powell Hut is the most pop­u­lar hut in Tararua For­est Park with over 3000 bed nights per year.

The hut is in a gor­geous set­ting, nes­tled in the hills amongst beau­ti­ful tus­sock grasses. Epic sun­rises, win­ter won­der­lands and beau­ti­ful na­tive forests are just some of the draw­cards that bring vis­i­tors to this area year on year.

Powell Hut is a pop­u­lar place to stop and rest be­fore climb­ing the sum­mit of Mount Holdsworth for stun­ning 360 views of the Wairarapa re­gion.

The new Powell Hut will con­tain 32 bunks, split be­tween four bunk rooms, with two rooms of 10 bunks and two rooms of six bunks. It would also fea­ture an ex­panded deck to make the most of the in­cred­i­ble view.

The new de­sign was based on con­sul­ta­tion. There was a huge amount of in­ter­est when we asked peo­ple last year what they wanted for the new hut with more than 800 peo­ple con­tribut­ing ideas.

We’ve de­signed it for what mod­ern users are look­ing for. The key piece of feed­back was that peo­ple re­ally en­joyed the view at the hut, so the new deck will be about three times the size of the ex­ist­ing deck and will in­clude seat­ing.

Peo­ple also said they wanted more pri­vacy, so we opted for four bunk rooms.

Con­struc­tion on the new Powell Hut will be­gin in Novem­ber. The site is a very ex­posed and chal­leng­ing place to work and con­struc­tion time will def­i­nitely be in­flu­enced by the weather.

We are tak­ing a cau­tious ap­proach and ad­vis­ing peo­ple the hut will be closed for six months, but we hope to have it open ahead of sched­ule and will be pro­vid­ing reg­u­lar up­dates.

Photo by Jack Mace

Above top: Look­ing down on Powell Hut.

Photo by Bev Ba­con

Sec­ond from top: Wairarapa icon Powell Hut.

Ph­too by Bev Ba­con

Third from top: View from Powell Hut.

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