This is a popular site so book well in advance.
This hut is sole occupancy and locked – refer to your booking confirmation for how to obtain the access code.
Facilities provided are:
You need to bring:
The fees are for up to 10 people.
*Weekend pricing only applies October – April.
Bookings are open for stays up to 30 June 2023.
Bookings are required all year.
A $10 service fee applies to phone and in-person booking. This is a limited service – book online first. An in-person booking is dependent on there being space available.
If this hut isn't available at the time of booking, consider Coast Road Cabin at the entrance to the Catchpool Valley.
Papatahi Hut is a 3 hr 30 min walk from the Catchpool car park via the Ōrongorongo and Big Bend Tracks.
Warning: Accessing the hut requires several river crossings and should not be attempted when the river is in flood or there is sustained rainfall forecast. The Ōrongorongo River is prone to flash flooding.
Papatahi Hut is located on the true right of the Ōrongorongo River, 5 km upstream from Turere Arch Bridge.
From the end of the Ōrongorongo Track follow the marked Big Bend Track for approximately 1 hour to its junction with the Whakanui Track. At this point you enter the riverbed and follow the Ōrongorongo River upstream.
The route contains approximately four crossings of the Ōrongorongo River but this can vary as the river is constantly rerouting in floods. As you move up the riverbed note the Matthews Stream fan and Mount Matthews Track on the true left, and a large slip face on the true left.
Look for the large orange triangle and DOC sign on the true right of the river, near the entrance to an old 4WD track (1769113.65, 5423258.07).
Climb the stairs and follow the marked track to the hut.
NZTopo50 map sheet: BQ32
Grid/NZTM2000 coordinates: E1769108, N5423351
Check the flow of the Ōrongorongo River before you go, as flash floods are common. Avoid crossing the river when it's in flood or if there has been sustained rainfall in the area
Look out for the warning signs of an unsafe river: water flowing faster than walking pace, discoloured water, debris in the river, and the sound of rocks rolling in the river bed.
If you aren’t sure it’s safe, don’t risk it – wait for the river to drop (this often happens quickly once rain stops), or change your plans and return another day.
Learn how to cross a river safely on the Mountain Safety Council river skills webpage.