Home / Trips / Hawkes Bay

Howletts Hut via Daphne Hut, Ruahine Forest Park

A winter wonderland at Howletts Hut. Photo: Shaun Barnett/Black Robin Photography
Total Ascent
Daphne Hut (12 bunks, $5), Howletts Hut (8 bunks, $5)
From Kashmir Road Road, west of Makaretu
GPX File
Howletts Hut via Daphne Hut (gpx, yo 57 KB)
Your device does not support GPX files. Please try a different device.

Howletts Hut is named after one of New Zealand’s pioneering trampers; William Howlett, who set up a ‘sort of alpine club’ in the 1890s, and spent innumerable summers botanising the local ranges. The club didn’t last long – Howlett was ahead of his time – but his name and influence did. So, when the Ruahine Tramping Club built a hut on Daphne Ridge in 1940, it was natural to name it after the man who had shown such interest in the Ruahine Range. When the Heretaunga Tramping Club took over the hut in the late 1970s, they undertook a major rebuild, and have steadily improved it ever since.

On the map, Howletts Hut looks not too far from the road end; but getting there can be quite arduous. The direct approach up the Tukituki River is slow bouldery travel. Far better, in winter, is to head in on a track from Kashmir Road via Daphne Hut. That leaves just a short spell in the river, and then the steep grunt up Daphne Spur. Even better still: climb to the tops near Longview Hut, summit Otumore, 1256m, then traverse north to Daphne Ridge and the hut.

Howletts lies right on the bush-edge; an attractive combination of orange and blue, with a steep gabled ridge and an effective potbelly stove inside. Grand views expand eastwards to Hawke’s Bay, but the best view is further along the ridge, where the Sawtooth Ridge appears in sharp profile. It’s a serrated bit of real estate in summer, but winter snow and ice lend it a grandeur as impressive as parts of the Southern Alps.

Support Wilderness

Since 1991, Wilderness has had one simple goal: to help Kiwis ‘See more, do more, live more’ of New Zealand.

If you value our mission, please consider subscribing. As a loyal supporter, you’ll receive these benefits:

  • New Zealand’s best outdoor journalism We’ve won multiple awards for our journalism and magazine production.
  • NZ’s best trips. Browse more than 610 trips with downloadable maps and route notes.
  • Trustworthy gear reviews. Each month we review gear we’ve been bashing and thrashing for months so you can determine if its worth your money.
  • Member benefits. Our WildCard provides discounts at more than 20 partners throughout New Zealand.
  • Your support goes a long way. Your subscription will help us fund NZ’s best outdoor journalists and writers and ensure Wilderness will be there to inspire the next generation of outdoor Kiwis.

A subscription costs as little as $7.00/month for instant access to all articles, trips, gear reviews and gear guides.

View all our subscription options and join the club.

Already a subscriber? Login Now.