Mt Taranaki’s Pouakai Hut will move onto DOC’s online booking system in November.
The 16-bunk backcountry serviced hut is the busiest on the mountain, with peak season often seeing more than 40 people wanting to stay overnight.
The hut is on the scenic two to three-day Pouakai Circuit and is a popular overnight stay for visitors hoping to catch Mt Taranaki’s reflection in the nearby Pouakai Tarn.
Pre-booking online will ensure people get a bunk for the night, says DOC Taranaki operations manager Gareth Hopkins.
“To date, it’s been left to chance for visitors as to whether they will get a bed, or the hut is too full,” he said. “The added security of pre-booking will hopefully encourage people to get out and enjoy this hut and spend more time in nature.”
From November 2, trampers need to register and book on the DOC website prior to setting out for their overnight stay. Proof of their booking should be carried with them.
Backcountry hut tickets will no longer be valid at Pouakai Hut, but they may be used at any other hut in the park. Pricing remains the same, with adults $15, youth (11-17 years) $7.50 and children 10 and under free of charge. Backcountry hut pass discounts apply.
Signs have been installed at track entrances and key huts in the park alerting trampers to the changes.
Also in Egmont National Park, Lake Dive Hut, a popular overnight destination and part of the Taranaki Round the Mountain Circuit, was destroyed by fire in late September.
Hopkins said fire service and police are investigating the cause. He wouldn’t commit to whether the hut will be rebuilt.
“We are currently exploring whether that is possible and what would be required,” he said. “No decision has been taken at this point.”