DOC has opened the summer season with updates to their online booking system and price increases for some of the backcountry’s most popular huts.
Ten DOC campgrounds and five huts – including Liverpool, Aspiring and Woolshed Creek huts – have been added to the online booking system and 15 huts have increased in price.
DOC Booking Services manager Ross Shearer said the booking system increases safety by giving visitors the assurance of a bunk.
“It ensures people are not pushing it to reach their destination early and taking unnecessary risks to do so,” he said.
The huts will remain open and unlocked to all, and shelter in a storm is “guaranteed”, Shearer said.
“Safety is our number one priority – if you’re out on the track and the weather starts to turn, it’s important to know that you can always seek shelter at these huts.”
Trampers may also sleep on floors and verandas.
Principal commercial and revenue advisor Phil Brownie expects the price increase – the first for backcountry huts since 2010 – will reduce visitors to some of the affected huts. However, he does not believe it will be significant for the most in-demand accommodations.
“This is especially the case for extremely popular huts such as Angelus Hut and Mueller Hut where the huts reach full capacity at peak times, implying demand outweighs supply,” he said.
Mueller Hut – the most expensive non-Great Walk hut in the country – has increased to $45, while Kelman Hut, Plateau Hut and Tasman Saddle Hut have gone up to $40, and Angelus Hut to $30.
All six serviced alpine huts, including Brewster and Liverpool huts, have increased to $20, and so too have four serviced huts, including Welcome Flat Hut and Pinnacles Hut in the Coromandel.
Children remain half price, and new prices apply only for bookings made after October 1.