Ōkārito School House

Image: Tony Doy | ©


Situated in the middle of Ōkārito village, the School House was built in 1901 and restored in 1990. Nearby you'll find easy access to Ōkārito Lagoon, rugged coastlines and stunning walks in Westland Tai Poutini National Park.

Accommodation overview


  • Vehicle


  • Sole


  • Bookings

Bookings required


  • Heating - electric
  • Kitchen - fully equipped
  • Toilet - flush

About this lodge


The Ōkārito School House is managed as an historic asset by the Department of Conservation. 

Originally built as a school house in 1901, the building ran as a YHA shelter for 30 years from 1960, and was restored by the Ōkārito Community Association and the Department in 1990. The Ōkārito Community Association ran the Ōkārito School House as accommodation until 2010.


  • Sleeps 12 – single bunk beds only. Six in the main living space and six in the back room.
  • Mattresses and pillows provided. No other bedding provided. 
  • Flush toilet.
  • Fridge, oven, microwave, toaster.
  • Pots, pans, cooking utensils, cutlery and crockery.
  • Electric heaters provided.


The Ōkārito School House was erected in 1901 on its present site although parts of the building are thought to date back to the original building which was established in 1867 at the wharf. Ōkārito’s population dwindled through the 1920s and 1930s and the school eventually closed in 1946.

In 1958 the site was put into reserve status but with little use the building was in a very sad state of repair. With the help of Greymouth branch of YHA a major restoration project was undertaken and the building was opened as a YHA shelter in 1960.

Between 1960 and 1990 the shelter was the only place for travelers to spend a night in Ōkārito. Around 1960 there were only four permanent residents in Ōkārito and it was 1987 before the village had enough residents to form the Ōkārito Community Association. By this time, once again, the Ōkārito schoolhouse was in need of a complete rebuild.

DOC, YHA and the local community undertook a huge restoration project in a joint effort in 1990. DOC produced a conservation plan for the schoolhouse in 1988 and further improvements include modern kitchen facilities, repainting and restoring the exterior of the building, financed with money raised by the local community.

It is an example of a project that has arisen from the needs of a community, firstly in it’s early history as a school and later in its role as an overnight shelter for travellers. Today the Ōkārito School House offers travellers a unique chance to experience the life of a bygone era, a chance to sample the history and culture of a small New Zealand settlement the way it was.

Getting there

The Ōkārito School House is located in Ōkārito on the South Island’s West Coast. Drive 15km north from Franz Josef Waiau on State Highway 6 to the Ōkārito Forks turnoff which is signposted on the left. 

Follow the sealed Ōkārito Road for 13 km until you reach Ōkārito village. The School House is located on the left near the centre of the village.

Please note there are no shops or service stations in Ōkārito so make sure you have enough supplies before you head out there.


Sole occupancy

  • $100.00 per night up to twelve persons.
  • Booking is available as sole occupancy only.


Book Ōkārito School House online or contact Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre or Franz Josef Glacier Base.

Before you book:

  • Full payment is required at the time of booking.
  • Cancellations must be made at least 10 days before the original occupancy date and within 48 hours of making the booking, otherwise a cancellation fee applies.
  • Transfers are not able to be made less than or equal to 2 days before the first night of stay.

Know before you go

  • There is no bedding or linen provided – you will need to bring your own duvet/sleeping bag and pillow slips.
  • There is no shower at the Ōkārito School House. Coin operated showers are available at the Ōkārito campground, 2 minutes walk from the School House. Bring your own towels.
  • Visitors are expected to leave the Ōkārito School House clean and tidy. Toilet paper and cleaning materials are provided.
  • Please take all rubbish and recycling with you.
  • Please report any breakages or issues to the Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre and i-SITE.
  • Please vacate the Ōkārito School House by 11.00am on the day of departure. New arrivals from 2.00pm.
  • No dogs are permitted.


Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 752 0360
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   westlandnpvc@doc.govt.nz
Address:   69 Cron Street
Franz Josef Glacier 7856
Postal Address:   PO Box 14
Franz Josef Glacier 7856
Hokitika Office
Phone:   +64 3 756 9100
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   hokitika@doc.govt.nz
Address:   10 Sewell Street
Hokitika 7810
Postal Address:   Private Bag 701
Hokitika 7842
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