Date: 02 October 2012
Visitors to one of the Kaimai's most significant historic places will enjoy a more reliable trip this summer, as advanced bookings become available for the popular Waitawheta Hut.
From 1 November 2012 the hut will become a bookable hut, allowing keen trampers to plan ahead and guarantee themselves a bunk. Casual visitors will still be able to camp outside the hut in exchange for one DOC Backcountry Hut Ticket.
The relaxing Waitawheta Hut
“It’s important to create a reliable overnight stay for people at this popular location”, says Pete Huggins from the Department of Conservation (DOC) in Tauranga. “You can check the availability of bunks before going on your trip, and book the right number of spaces for your group. The booking system itself will be live on the DOC website from Monday 1 October, but the change to becoming a bookable hut is not until November. It’s the status quo in the meantime."
"We expect the pressure on the facilities and environment at the hut and mill site to be reduced once the hut is limited to 26 people. This will create a much better atmosphere and experience for visitors, especially those that are new to the backcountry.”
About 6000 people a year visit the scenic forests and historic attractions in the Waitawheta Valley, which is located near Waihi, and this number is expected to grow. The overnight trip to the hut takes walkers along the 100-year old kauri logging tramway to the site of one of New Zealand’s iconic kauri logging mills. A delightful waterfall and glow-worm grotto nearby make this a great place to enjoy nature.
The Department of Conservation is developing Waitawheta into a unique overnight backcountry experience for families and groups, based around the nationally significant kauri sawmill and tramway. Work includes the installation of two more bridges over the Waitawheta River, extension of the track westwards to link to Mount Te Aroha, and the reconstruction of parts of the original sawmill.
The cost of staying at the hut has not changed – it is still $15 per adult per night ($7.50 for those aged between 11 and 17 years). Backcountry Hut Passes are not valid at Waitawheta Hut from 1 November.
See the Kaimai Heritage Trail section for more information about historic attractions in the area, or contact the Tauranga Area Office on +64 7 578 7677.