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Popular Ruahine huts on new booking system

Rangiwahia Hut is becoming a popular backcountry destination in the Ruahines. Photo: Ian Peacey/Creative Commons

Two popular huts in Hawke’s Bay are adopting a new bunk-booking system to help cope with the increasingly busy summer months.

The 13-bunk Rangiwahia Hut and 20-bunk Sunrise Hut in Ruahine Forest Park have been operating on a first-come, first-serve basis. Before, users could book the hut, but weren’t guaranteed a bunk. With the new system, trampers who want to ensure they have a bunk when they arrive will have to book ahead.

DOC says more families have been using the huts in recent seasons, and the booking system will make it easier to ensure bunks for backcountry trampers.

“What’s happened with these huts in the Ruahines is that tramping has become more popular, the huts are more popular, and they’re becoming overcrowded on some weekends,” Federated Mountain Clubs president Peter Wilson said.

“It’s not a booking system for a hut; it’s a booking system for a bunk, so it’s a wee bit better,” Wilson said. “And it’s not exclusive, so if you happen to show up there unplanned or in a storm or you changed your route, and you haven’t booked it, you can still use the hut.”

Backcountry hut pass holders are able to use their hut pass numbers to create a booking by contacting any DOC booking office, and hut tickets will still be accepted. The bookings are open now until Easter weekend 2017.