Friday, 22 August 2014

In Praise of DOC Huts

We have a unique system of public backcountry huts in New Zealand. From poky, smoky huts etched with history through to Great Walk palaces with solar lighting, these huts provide much needed shelter on our tramping tracks. Often a convenient day's walk apart, most provide the basics of bunks, benches, rainwater tanks and a tap, with an outdoor toilet at a pong-free distance.

There's nothing quite like the sight of a hut in the distance after a tough day on the trail. Glimpse it in the distance through the bush or across the bay and suddenly your pack feels lighter, the rain less persistent, and hunger more bearable.

But best of all is the view from the hut, having been on the move all day, you can now sit and enjoy the view out to sea, up the river, or deep into the bush interior.

The huts on the North-West Circuit of Stewart Island, are all in inspired locations. Each hut we came to had its own delightful setting. Thanks DOC!

Here are some of the huts paired with their views.

1. Most welcome view of a hut in the distance - Bungaree

2. Best dolphin watching spot - Christmas Village
3. Most peaceful river setting - Yankee River
4. Best view from the loo - Long Harry
5. Top marks for location - East Ruggedy
6. Most rewarding arrival, after a slog through the mud - Big Hellfire