DOC hut fees and categories

There’s two ways to pay for staying in these huts: individual hut tickets you buy in mass, costing currently, ie, 2017, $5, or a hut pass costing $92 for 6 months or $122 for a year for adults. Various discounts apply for yoofs, ie, under 18 years of age, or members of various organisations. See the DOC places-to-stay website for the full, complicated, details.

You pre-buy your hut tickets at DOC offices, or outdoor stores, and fill them out and bung them in the box on the wall of every hut you are staying in. You are supposed to write the number of this ticket in the hut book when you add the details of your stay.

The standard backcountry huts that are more remote are classed as, err, “standard” and cost one hut ticket for each person a night, ie, $5. Camping outside is free if you prefer lugging a tent to sleeping on a mattress out of the weather.

Some huts are classed at “serviced” huts, where DOC provides wood for heating and sometimes gas for cooking, mostly in high use areas, or at altitude where deforestation is an issue. These cost 3 hut tickets for each person a night, ie, $15. Camping outside requires 1 hut ticket.

There’s a further complication in that some other serviced huts also require booking, mostly in the North Island but in the South Island currently only Angelus Hut in Nelson Lakes, Welcome Flat in Westland Tai Poutini National Park and all the Serviced Alpine huts, did I mention them. The serviced alpine huts are mostly used by serious mountain climbers with ropes, crampons and pitons, etc, in the high Southern Alps above the bushline.

Then there are some simple huts, usually not renovated, often well out of the way with not much use, classed as “basic”, and are often that, often no woodburner, certainly no wood supplied, often no rainwater tank, maybe no toilet, but they have the best price: free.

There’s a fourth category, the Great Walk huts, which are, err, on the Great Walks, ie, the Heaphy etc, and cost a heap more, $38 a night each for the Heaphy, more for the Milford, $70 a night each. All these Great Walk tracks require booking and paying for your bunk before departure or they will hit you with a double fee. You need to know you can’t just drop into these huts for the night, on the Great Walks each bunk has usually been booked for a while. They usually have a hut warden to check or sort out any issues with the booking. Basically in the high use season you will have a major problem if you have not booked. Fees on many of the Great Walk Huts increased on 16 May 2017.

If you are going to spend more than a week out tramping in the next year it’s worth buying the annual hut pass. You pay your $122 and get a little plastic card that means you can stay, err, legally in any of the huts that don’t require booking, ie, most of them that are not Great Walks or Alpine Serviced, without paying any more, no more fiddly bits of plastic tied to your pack and ripping bits off and bunging them in the boxes for them at each hut.

Pay up and enjoy an entire year’s accommodation at no extra cost.

It’s not a lot of cash, a decent motel charges that for a single night, it’s less than filling up many cars with petrol.

We know you pay your taxes but taxes are way down on what they were back in the day when huts were free.

If everyone who stayed in huts paid up it would be a better indication of people’s interest in the outdoors and maybe there would be more pressure to maintain, or enhance the facilities.

Yeah, just to be sanctimonious, pay up.

Hut étiquette, ie, manners →