Booking trial starts soon for popular tramping huts

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BOOKINGS: Sunrise Hut in the Ruahine Range will be available to book from Thursday in a new initiative from the Department of Conservation. PHOTO/FILE
BOOKINGS: Sunrise Hut in the Ruahine Range will be available to book from Thursday in a new initiative from the Department of Conservation. PHOTO/FILE

People will soon be able to secure beds in advance at two popular Hawke's Bay tramping huts.

Rangiwahia and Sunrise Hut will be available to book from Thursday through to Easter.

Manawatu operations manager Allanah Irvine said they were two of the most popular huts in the park so a booking system would work to reduce the issue of overcrowding during peak season.

"We want to manage the overcrowding and encourage new people to get into the outdoors. Both destinations are ideal for less experienced trampers and family groups who want to get into the forest and explore the alpine tops," said Ms Irvine.

Research suggested that family groups preferred to use bookable accommodation so management were trying to make it easier for them to get into the back country.

Both of the huts are situated in the "tussock-tops" of the Ruahine Forest Park and the tracks to each hut are well-graded and easy to follow with an average walking time of two to three hours.

On a fine day Ms Irvine said Rangiwahia Hut provided stunning views from Kapiti to Ruapehu, while Sunrise offered views over Hawke's Bay and out to the Pacific Ocean.

Hut tickets would still be accepted but making a booking was the only way to guarantee a bed.

"It is hoped that the use of a booking system will ensure the correct hut capacity is maintained so that the people using the huts are comfortable and safe."

Hut wardens will be present periodically during the booking trial, especially during peak times, such as public holiday weekends. If a storm hit, Ms Irvine said safety was the number one priority so shelter would be guaranteed.

"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."

Bookings will be available from booking.doc.govt.nz from Wednesday and are available for one season on a trial basis.

After the trial, a decision will be made regarding future use of a booking system for each hut.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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