Bookings not required - first come, first served
Located in the north eastern Kaweka Forest Park, Middle Hill Hut is situated in a flat, sheltered site where the open manuka/kanuka scrublands meet red beech forest.
Built in 1963 this hut was upgraded in 2003 with a large north-facing covered veranda. Middle Hill Hut is one of the few ex NZFS huts that still retains an open fireplace. The hut is sited in a open sunny clearing at 980 metres and experiences a wide range of climatic conditions which can include brief snowfalls during cold southerly weather and heavy winter frosts.
Before you go, buy 1 Standard Hut Ticket (blue for adults, yellow for youth) for each night's stay. Put this in the honesty box at the hut. Or buy a Backcountry Hut Pass that gives unlimited use at most Standard and Serviced huts for a 6 or 12 month period.
From Makahu Road, a marked track climbs south west for 2 hours and then follows an undulating route across flat scrubland terraces for a further 30 – 45 minutes (5 km).
From Makahu Saddle carpark a marked tracked passes Kaweka Flats Bivouac (1 hour) to reach Middle Hill Hut (5.7 km).
Middle Hill Hut is ideally located for a day or weekend tramp. Trampers often make a semi-circular trip from Makahu Saddle via Middle Hill and out to Makahu Road as an “over-nighter” with suitable transportation arranged for drop-off and pick-up.
A “round” trip over Whetu (at the northern end of the main range) and down past Makino Hut or Te Puia Lodge is also a popular trip – this trip offers extensive views from the main range tops.
NZMS Map 260 series U20 and the Kaweka Recreational Map 274/12 can be purchased from:
Makahu Road is 75 km north-west of Napier. From Napier follow Puketitiri Road for 40 km before turning right into Pakaututu Road. Makahu Road is 9 km on the left.
At the very end of the road, 500 metres from the Mangatutu Hot Springs and camping area, is "The Gums" parking area and shelter. The tracks to Te Puia Lodge and Mangatainoka Hot Springs begin here.
The trip involves about 1 hr of travel on unsealed gravel roads. There is a river ford on Makahu Road 7.5 km from the road end – heavy rain and snow melt can affect the water level.
Makahu Road is steep and narrow in places. It may be slippery when wet. Take extra caution driving this road.
The road is not suitable for caravans or campervans.
Check with Hasting's District Council for road closures.
NZTopo50 map sheet: BJ37
Grid/NZTM2000 coordinates: E1895791, N5652401