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Vote now! 2019 Reader’s Choice Outdoor Awards finalists

Help choose the 2019 Hut of the Year - vote now!
Voting is open in the 2019 Wilderness Reader’s Choice Outdoor Awards – which brand, hut, retailer and hero will you pick?

The nominations are in and we’ve selected the finalists. 

Now, it’s in your hands – cast your vote to select the winners.

Voting ends Monday, October 14 and the results will be revealed in the December 2019 issue. 


Here are your finalists….

Hut of the year

Waihohonu Hut. Photo: Matthew Pike

Waihohonu Hut, Tongariro National Park: This modern 28-bunk hut features solar-powered electric lights and hot water. It can be reached in as little as one hour from the road end, making it a popular destination for families.

Sandy Bay Hut. Photo: George Driver

Sandy Bay Hut, Te Urewera: This 18-bunk hut sits on the shore of Lake Waikareiti and can be reached on foot or, uniquely, by rowboat.

Balloon Hut. Photo: Shaun Barnett/Black Robin Photography

Balloon Hut, Kahurangi National Park: Tucked into the forest on the verge of the Kahurangi Tablelands – a vast tussock grassland – this 14-bunk hut can be reached in just 3-4 hours. 

Kime Hut. Photo: Ricky French

Kime Hut, Tararua Forest Park: It’s known as one of the coldest huts in New Zealand, but that hasn’t stopped generations of Wellington trampers heading to the 20-bunker on weekend getaways or their Southern Crossing adventure.

Mueller Hut. Photo: Mmi Chiu

Mueller Hut, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park: This 28-bunk hut is one of the most popular in the country due to its alpine location and the stunning views of Aoraki/Mt Cook. It’s also one of the most easily reached hut destinations in the park.

Mt Heale Hut. Photo: Alana Vernon

Mt Heale Hut, Great Barrier Island: This 20-bunk hut on Great Barrier Island has a huge deck and offers views of the Hauraki Gulf. 


Outdoor hero of the year

Allan Wickens

Allan Wickens: Club Captain of the Waikato Tramping Club, 69-year-old Allan Wickens has been called an ‘absolute inspiration’. The young at heart leader has a vast knowledge of the outdoors, and is the heart of the club, running trips, driving the club van, training members and sharing his experiences. “He relates really well to people of all ages and is well respected within the tramping club,” his nominator said.

Chris Riley

Chris Riley: Nature ambassador Chris Riley has run Eco Wanaka Adventures for 13 years and has made a huge impact on his ‘second home’ of Mou Waho Island, planting a tree and maintaining the track on every visit. “His enthusiasm for nature conservation, local history and biodiversity is infectious. He is an adventurer, an entertainer and a teacher of all things nature-related,” his nominator said.

Dulkara Martig

Dulkara Martig: Outdoor educator and expedition leader Dulkara Martig has led the way for packrafting in New Zealand, pushing the sport to a new audience. She was named the international packrafting person of the year by the American Packrafting Association, and nominated for “promoting and leading sustainable and inspiring outdoor activities, especially for young adults”.

Geoff and Lisa Whittle. Photo: Amanda Rogers

Geoff and Lisa Whittle: Husband and wife conservationists Geoff and Lisa Whittle have ventured from their home in Wellington to the most remote parts of the Ruahine Range 47 times over the last seven years to maintain 16km of traps. Their efforts have contributed to the survival of whio, kiwi and other native birds in the area.

Mike Joy

Mike Joy: Freshwater ecologist and conservation advocate Mike Joy was nominated for his tireless campaigning for water quality in New Zealand. Joy has been vocal against intensive farming practices and has criticised New Zealand’s 100% Pure tourism campaign.


Brand of the year

Aarn Packs: The unique design of Aarn’s balance packs was cited among nominators, who called them unique, innovative and revolutionary. 

Cactus Equipment: The common theme in nominations was that Cactus is a NZ-made brand that makes long-lasting and durable gear. 

Earth Sea Sky: Nominators commended this brand for being NZ-made, a family company and for the quality of its products. 

Exped: Nominated for its reliable and comfortable sleeping bags, mats and tents, nominators said Exped made quality equipment at a good price. 

Lowa: This footwear brand was recognised for the quality and comfort of its tramping boots. 

Macpac: Nominators liked Macpac for its Kiwi heritage and for making gear they can trust. 

MSR: Nominators cited MSR’s tents and stoves, calling it the best technical gear with continuously innovative and great products. 

Osprey: This brand was recommended for its comfortable packs and no-questions-asked lifetime warranty.

RAB: Nominators liked this brand’s technical down clothing, saying it can cope with all conditions. 


Independent retailer of the year

Further Faster, Christchurch: This retailer was recognised for friendly service, great gear and sponsorship of local events.

Living Simply, Auckland: Nominated for its customer service, knowledgeable staff who are trampers themselves, and range of gear. 

Southern Adventure, Invercargill: Service, range of product and an owner that goes out of his way to help people find the right product for their needs were among the reasons this store was nominated. 

Trek n Travel, Hamilton: Nominators cited excellent advice, service, knowledge and enthusiasm of the owners. 

Complete Outdoors, Christchurch: Helpful and friendly staff along with their knowledge and expertise were the reasons people nominated this store. 


Chain retailer of the year

Bivouac Outdoor: Service, product range and friendly, interested staff were among the top reasons Bivouac was nominated. 

Torpedo7: This retailer’s click and collect service and competitive pricing were the main reasons people nominated it. 

Hunting and Fishing: There’s more to this retailer than camouflage gear said one nominator. Others cited the range of packs, footwear, tents and clothing available. 

Macpac: Range of gear, colourways, pricing and its Fund for Good initiative were all reasons people nominated this retailer. 


Online retailer of the year

Bivouac.co.nz: Nominated for choice of international brands, prompt delivery and customer service.

Gearshop.co.nz: Product selection, competitive prices, after sales support and its customer rewards scheme were all reasons this retailer was nominated. 

Furtherfaster.co.nz: Discounts offered to returning customers, speedy delivery and service were cited as reasons for nominating this retailer.

Macpac.co.nz: Easy online ordering and the fact returns can be made to any store in the country were the top reasons this retailer was nominated.

Intentsoutdoors.co.nz: Service, range of products, reasonable prices and after sales care were the reasons this retailer was nominated.