About this hut
There is cellphone reception on the island. Drinking water does not need to be treated.
- Hut facilities: Log fire with wood provided, drinking water and a flushing toilet.
- Camping facilities: Drinking water and a flushing toilet.
Check in and out
Check in after 10 am. If you are leaving late in the afternoon, you may leave your bags in the hut or on the deck but be considerate of incoming guests.
The hut was built between 1910 and 1920 for the animal quarantine station caretaker by the Department of Agriculture. It was used as a caretaker’s cottage up until the early 1980s. Between 1906 and 1925, the caretakers provided cooked food for the lepers. In 1982, the hut was converted into the Island’s interpretation centre.
Since being converted into overnight accommodation, the interpretation panels will now be housed in the Immigrant Barracks on Whakamaru Beach (Swimmers Beach).
Black Cat Cruises operates a regular ferry service from Lyttelton Wharf between October and April (groups must book). A weekend only service runs between April and September. Ensure you know when the last ferry leaves Quail Island to get back to Lyttelton.
Once you’ve booked your stay in the new hut you will get a code entitling you to a discount with Black Cat Cruises.
Alternatively you can make your own way to the Island by canoe, kayak or private boat. Whakamaru (Swimmers) beach, Skiers Beach or Walkers Beach are the recommended places to land/launch canoes or kayaks. There is also plenty of room to pull a boat up. Care is required as these areas will be shallow or mud flats at low tide. The majority of the island’s coast is unsuitable for landings.
The wharf is not suitable for overnight mooring (as per signage).
Ōtamahua Hut is an easy 15 minute walk from the wharf.
- Adult (18+ years): $15 per night
- Youth (11 - 17 years): $7.50 per night
- Child/Infant: (0 - 10 years): free
Book online, or to use a Backcountry Hut Pass or hut tickets as payment book through the DOC Ōtautahi/Christchurch Visitor Centre.
Know before you go
- Toilets are located at Ōtamahua Hut, Whakamaru Beach (Swimmers Beach) and Skiers Beach.
- Most track surfaces on the Island are evenly graded or grassed, but sturdy footwear is recommended.
- The Island contains a number of unmarked tracks used by the Ōtamahua / Quail Island Ecological Restoration Trust for planting access - stay on sign-marked tracks to avoid stepping on new plants and for your own personal safety.
- Carry adequate clothing and be prepared for sudden changes in the weather – parts of the Island are exposed.
- There are steep unfenced cliffs. Small children should be kept under close supervision at all times.
- There is a danger of windfall or treefall in high or gusty wind conditions.
- Cellphone reception is available on the island.
Ōtamahua/Quail Island is at times subject to extreme fire danger
If fire breaks out on the Island:
- head to the nearest beach or coastal area, if it is safe to do so.
- if you have a mobile, dial 111 for fire.
Look after the island
- No open fires.
- All animals, including dogs, are prohibited, as is the carrying of firearms.
- All wildlife, plants, and natural and historic features are protected. Be respectful and keep to the tracks.
- Take home all your rubbish.
- No unauthorised vehicles (including mountain bikes) allowed.
- Bait stations and predator traps are in use at all time. Read the warning signs on the wharf and around the Island.
- Do not remove rocks from the sea wall along the beach.
Protect our wildlife
- Check - your gear for pests, eg rodents, insects, skinks.
- Clean - footwear and gear, removing soil and seeds.