Holly Hut, Egmont National Park
Resting on the mossy slopes of Mt Taranaki, Holly Hut is a popular pitstop for trampers on the Round the Mountain Track and Pouakai Circuit, as well as a thrilling overnight destination suitable for beginner trampers.
The hut is accessible from several routes, though the most direct is via North Egmont Visitor Centre on the Holly Hut Track.
It begins on an excellently formed gravel track that climbs south-west through gradually shrinking tree cover, eventually emerging onto an exposed saddle. This is a good place to assess the weather, as there is little shelter now until the hut.
The track cuts an ascending line across the mountain’s slopes, crossing valleys and slips beneath dramatic cliffs. Boomerang Slip, which previously made the track inaccessible, is a sobering reminder that the volcano’s many tracks are on borrowed time.
Soon after the junction with Kokowai Track, the trail descends over 200m to the hut junction, before crossing two streams to reach the 32-bunk hut.
The current hut is the third to occupy the site – the first was reportedly built in 1900.
There are three bunkrooms and solar lighting provides novel convenience, though it’s hard to beat the light of the glowing fire.
A detour to Bells Falls will tack on over an hour of stairs to the day’s tramp, though it’s the most impressive waterfall in the park. The track is challenging at times as it sidles around The Dome, descending muddy roots and stairs, and emerging downstream of the falls.
While nearby Pouakai Hut bursts at the seams every weekend, visitors to Holly Hut may be lucky enough to have a room – or even the whole hut – to themselves.