Date: 25 September 2019
Ten DOC campgrounds and five huts will be added to the online booking system in time for the 2019/20 summer season.
DOC Booking Services Manager Ross Shearer says evidence from other facilities on the booking system shows visitors can be confident of taking their time getting to their destination knowing they will still get a space when they get there.
"This is an important safety consideration as it ensures people are not pushing it to reach their destination early and taking unnecessary risks to do so."
Ross Shearer says having the new facilities on the system also means people can check in advance to see if the places they plan to visit are already heavily booked and then choose to go somewhere else if they want a quieter experience.
Moving huts to be bookable will not exclude others from using them.
"The huts won't be locked, and shelter in a storm is guaranteed," Ross Shearer says.
"Safety is our number one priority - If you're out on the track and the weather starts to turn, it's important to know that you can always seek shelter at these huts."
Similarly, there will be nothing stopping people sleeping on floors or verandas if that's what they choose to do and while hut tickets will still be accepted, making a booking will be the only way to guarantee a bed.
"More facilities will be added to the booking system over time and customers will soon see that the system, which works equally well on desktop or mobile platforms, has the benefit of allowing them to manage their own bookings at campgrounds and huts."
Along with the extra offerings, regular booking system users will also see a pricing review has resulted in five of DOC's high demand serviced huts having fee increases. The pricing review has also seen increased fees for all of DOC's Serviced Alpine Huts making prices more consistent and reflecting the higher costs of managing the huts in the alpine environment.
Backcountry hut prices have not changed since 2010. During this time, some huts have experienced high growth in visitor demand and now reach full capacity at peak times.
The price increase is to better reflect the value of the experience and will also mean user fees come closer to paying for the cost of providing for DOC's hut network without being too much of a financial hurdle for users.
Angelus Hut in Nelson Lakes increases to $30 a night (was $20), while Pinnacles Hut in the Coromandel, Siberia Hut (Mt Aspiring), Welcome Flat Hut (Westland) and Peach Cove Hut (Whangarei) increase to $20 a night from $15.
New prices will only apply for bookings made from 1 October 2019.
DOC's hut network will continue to cater to all budgets. All other fees, including those of Great Walk huts (various prices) remain unchanged for this season. Basic huts are still free, while Standard huts are $5 and non-bookable Serviced huts and lower demand bookable Serviced Huts are $15.
The prices for backcountry hut tickets and the Annual Backcountry Hut pass will also remain unchanged.
Bookings can be made online. Annual hut pass holders can use their hut pass number to create a booking by contacting any DOC booking office.
Campgrounds to be added to online booking system
- Lake Paringa (South Westland)
- Otto/MacDonald's (South Westland)
- Lake Mahinapua (Hokitika)
- Hans Bay/Lake Kaniere (Hokitika)
- Goldsborough (Hokitika)
- Boundary Creek (Central Otago)
- Cameron Flat (Central Otago)
- Kidds Bush (Central Otago)
- Pleasant Flat (Central Otago)
- Trounson Kauri Park (Kauri Coast)
Huts added to booking system for 2019/20
- Woolshed Creek Hut (Mt Somers, Canterbury)
- Pinnacles Hut (Mt Somers, Canterbury)
- Te Whare Okioki (Kaimai Mamaku Conservation Park, Bay of Plenty)
- Aspiring Hut (Mt Aspiring National Park, Otago)
- Liverpool Hut (Mt Aspiring National Park, Otago)
Huts affected by price changes effective 1 October 2019 (adult prices)
- $30: Angelus Hut (Serviced Hut)
- $20: Siberia Hut, Welcome Flat Hut, Peach Cove Hut and Pinnacles Hut in the Coromandel (Serviced Huts)
- $45: Mueller Hut (Serviced Alpine Hut)
- $40: Kelman Hut, Plateau Hut, Tasman Saddle Hut (Serviced Alpine Huts)
- $20: Brewster Hut, Liverpool Hut, Barron Saddle Hut, Empress Hut, Almer Hut, Chancellor Hut (Serviced Alpine Huts)
- All children prices will remain half price and increase accordingly.
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