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.
The interpretation panels are now housed in the Immigrant Barracks on Whakamaru Beach (Swimmers Beach).
Monday to Thursday:
Friday to Sunday:
Backcountry Hut Passes can be used at this hut. To pay with your Backcountry Hut Pass, create/update your account on our booking system. Under 'Apply for a discount', select 'Backcountry Hut Pass Holder' and upload a scan of your pass. Once we've verified your pass, it will automatically be applied when you make a booking.
Bookings are open for stays from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.
Bookings are required all year.
A $10 service fee applies to all phone, email and in-person bookings.
Your hut booking is for any bunk bed, not for a specific bunk bed – select your bunk bed on arrival.
Ōtamahua/Quail Island lies within Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour, close to Christchurch City.
Black Cat Cruises operates a regular ferry service from Lyttelton Wharf. Ensure you know when the last ferry leaves Quail Island to get back to Lyttelton. Once you’ve booked, you'll get a discount code for Black Cat Cruises. Black Cat Cruises schedule and fees.
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 up a boat. 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. Check the weather forecast before you leave for the island.
The wharf is not suitable for overnight mooring.
Overnight camping is available at Whakamaru Beach (swimmers beach) and Skiers Beach for approved groups. For enquiries and booking contact the Ōtautahi /Christchurch Visitor Centre.
If fire breaks out on the Island:
Auckland and parts of the Waikato are at Level 3. DOC huts and campsites are closed in these regions. The rest of New Zealand is at Level 2.