Don’t you think they are awe inspiring?!
Stark and remote, these huts are a worthy destination. Plan a hike on the South Island of New Zealand and make your overnight memorable. Their remoteness gives you a better chance to get away from the hiking hordes that can be found on more popular routes. Spending the night in a hut means less weight on your back, too. But there is something so appealing about staying in a hut. And the country is truly spectacular! Try it, we think you’ll love it.
See you on the trails (all around the world)!
Try these remote shelters for a true taste of New Zealand wilderness.
5. Stafford Hut
Past the end of the road on New Zealand’s West Coast lies a sweet little shack that will make you feel like the star of your own surf movie. Stafford is a six-bunk hut on the banks of the Stafford River just a hundred yards from the Tasman Sea. It has a clean stove with an abundance of split wood for chillier beach nights, and a front deck that peeks through the rainforest to the ocean.
The trail to the Stafford hut starts in Jackson Bay, and crosses Kakapo Creek several times in the first few kilometers. You’ll have a couple hours to dry out your shoes as you hike over Stafford Saddle, which deposits you at another unnamed creek. Hike down the creek for a kilometer or so until it reaches the Stafford River. Cross the river and find the hut half a kilometer down the far bank.
4. Mount Brown Hut
Nestled in the mountains of the west coast, the tiny, four-bunk Mount Brown hut is strategically placed for great views of Lake Kaneire and the ocean beyond it. Mount Brown is a community-maintained hut: volunteers keep it in good shape and stocked with coal.
The path to Mount Brown begins above the tiny oceanside town of Hokitika, and is steep right out of the gate. Luckily, it’s a short trail, and once it rises above treeline, it mellows out. Stick with it and you’ll eventually crest a grassy ridge to where the little yellow hut sits with its amazing view.
3. Brewster Hut
The Brewster hut is a recently reconstructed 12-bunk hut that sits among glaciated peaks and waterfalls in the Southern Alps. It has one of the sweetest decks in the entire hut system, built with slack-jawed scenery-gazing in mind; if you can peel yourself away from the view, Brewster makes a great base camp for exploring the glacial lakes at the foot of the Brewster Glacier.
Begin your hike about an hour north of the town of Makarora. The Brewster Hut trail starts by crossing the Haast River just a few steps from the parking lot. On the other side, the orange blaze marking the start of the track leads up a washed-out step-up. The trail ascends sharply through beech forest for a few kilometers, then climbs through tussock to deposit hikers on a rolling, knife-edge ridge. The ridge soon plateaus as the hut comes into view.
2. Liverpool Hut
You’ll work hard to get to Liverpool, a 10-bunk hut at the top of one of New Zealand’s steepest trails. But it’s worth it: The view is spectacular in every direction, with Mount Avalanche and Rob Roy Peak rising across the valley and Mount Liverpool and Mount Barff looming over the hut. The motherlode, however, is Mount Aspiring, a towering, snow-covered peak with a sawtooth ridgeline.
The first four hours of the hike to Liverpool meander through pastureland in the Matukituki Valley, alternating between beech forest and long, lovely flats alongside the Matukituki River. At the end of the last flat, a swing bridge crosses Liverpool Stream, and you kiss the mellow trail goodbye and head straight up. Once you clear the treeline, you’ll find the little red shack on its impossibly high perch.
1. Barker Hut
Barker is a 6-bunk hut that sits high on glacial moraine at the head of the White River valley in Arthur’s Pass. The hut is surrounded by Mount Murchison and the Marmaduke-Dixon glacier, and looks out down the White River at the beginning of the Southern Alps.
The two-day trip to Barker begins in the massive riverbed of the Waimakariri River. After four to six hours on the trail, hikers can rest at the 36-bunk Carrington hut.
From Carrington, the route heads up the White River’s confluence with the Waimakariri, passing under a historic cable car. Soon, an old trail starts to put some elevation between hikers and the river. Cairns lead the rest of the way up to the hut.