Introduction

Find out what you need to know if you've never stayed at a DOC hut before.

If you’ve not stayed at a DOC hut before, you’ll probably be wondering about:

How to book and pay

Some DOC huts can be booked in advance, but many can’t be – look for booking information on the web page for each hut.

Huts that can be booked

  • Some huts are booked on a sole-use basis, others on a shared-use, i.e. per bed, basis.
  • Book online or at a DOC visitor centre
  • Fees vary but are paid at the time of booking
  • Some huts require you to obtain a combination code or pick up keys before you go

Huts that can’t be booked

  • If the page for a hut doesn’t mention that booking is required, then the hut can’t be booked in advance – these huts are first come, first served. Contact the DOC office referred to on the web page if you want to know about the likely capacity at different times.
  • Fees vary between $5 per adult / $2.50 per child per night - $15 per adult / $7.50 per child per night
  • Fees are paid by buying Backcountry Hut Tickets (or a Backcountry Hut Pass) from DOC visitor centres and some retail outlets before you go. Tickets are redeemed by placing them in the honesty box at the hut. Please remember to pay – hut fees are used to maintain huts for your comfort and enjoyment.

What to expect

Facilities vary between huts – look at facilities information on hut pages.

Te Kopi cottage interior. Photo: Janna Kostus.
Inside drive-in Te Kopi cottage, Aorangi Forest Park

Drive-in huts/lodges

You’ll often find:

  • Flush toilets
  • Hot showers
  • Lighting
  • Equipped kitchens

Inside Coldwater Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park.
Inside walk-in Coldwater Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park

Walk-in huts

You’ll find:

  • Communal sleeping  on bunks or sleeping platforms with mattresses
  • Long-drop toilets
  • No showers
  • Generally no lighting
  • Sinks with cold running water, often outside

What you need to take

What you need to take depends on what’s provided at the hut you’re going to - look at the facilities information on hut pages.

Drive-in huts/lodges

Drive-in huts are often more equipped than walk-in huts but you’ll always need to take some supplies of your own.

Walk-in huts

For walk-in huts you’ll just about always need:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Toilet paper
  • Torch
  • Cooking and eating utensils
  • Matches
  • Rubbish bag

You’ll also often need a gas cooker – some huts have them but many don’t.

What you need to know before you go

Before you go, know the five simple rules of the Outdoor Safety Code to help you stay safe:

  1. Plan your trip
  2. Tell someone
  3. Be aware of the weather
  4. Know your limits
  5. Take sufficient supplies

Find out more about the Outdoor Safety Code

What to do during your stay

Remember to:

  • Deposit your hut tickets in the honesty box provided
  • Enter your trip details in the intentions book at the hut – it will help the event of search and rescue
  • Keep huts clean and tidy
  • Take care with wood burners
  • Conserve the gas provided when using gas cookers or heaters
  • Share huts with others
  • Carry in, carry out
  • Close the door and windows securely before leaving

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