Image: Vanessa Mander | DOC
There is cellphone reception on the island. Drinking water does not need to be treated.
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.
Overnight camping is available at Whakamaru Beach (Swimmers Beach) for organised groups. To make an enquiry or a booking contact the DOC Ōtautahi/Christchurch Visitor Centre.
Ōtamahua/Quail Island has a rich history and culture. The Island has been used as a quarantine station for sick immigrants before they were allowed on the mainland. It has also been used to house New Zealand’s only leper colony as well as training animals for early antarctic expeditions.
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.
Bookings required all year round. All hut users will need to have a valid booking via the DOC online booking system.
If you want to use a Backcountry Hut Pass or hut tickets as payment, make a booking through the DOC Ōtautahi/Christchurch Visitor Centre.
Before you book, read the booking terms and conditions.
If fire breaks out on the Island: