Field hut (historic) Tararua Forest Park
Image: Andrej Ricnik | Creative Commons
Field Hut is an historic hut in the western Tararua Forest Park, located just below the bushline at an altitude of 900 m.
Field Hut is an actively managed historic hut. It was one of the first purpose built tramping huts in the country and is the oldest surviving recreational hut in the Tararua Ranges. People have been visiting the Tararua Forest Park for a long time and the huts they built and used are an important link to the Park’s history.
Field Hut was built in 1924 by New Zealand’s first tramping club, the Tararua Tramping Club, to accommodate the increasing popularity of the Southern Crossing between Ōtaki and Kaitoke. It was named after W. H. Field who was President of the Tararua Tramping Club and the Member of Parliament for Ōtaki at the time.
The hut foundations and framing were built with pit-sawn timber from trees felled nearby, and the rest of the materials were hauled in by packhorse.
Over the years much of the original materials have been replaced, but the hut remains an important recreational and historic attraction. Retaining its original character and form, people continue to enjoy staying in this excellent example of an early tramping hut.
The hut also has sentimental value to generations of trampers and hunters who had their first experience of the rigours of the Southern Crossing while shivering in the mist-shrouded Field Hut.
Follow in the footsteps of those before you and make your Tararua tramping experience complete by spending a night at Field Hut.
Field Hut is best accessed via Ōtaki Forks.
Ōtaki Forks is 19 km inland from Ōtaki township – approximately 1 hr 30 min drive from Wellington or Palmerston North. The easiest turnoff from SH1 is at Ōtaki Gorge Road, just south of the SH1 bridge over the Ōtaki River. The last 5 km of the Ōtaki Gorge Road is unsealed, narrow and windy – drive carefully.
NZTopo50 map sheet: BP33
Grid/NZTM2000 coordinates: E1789982, N5468984
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.