Information for visitors to New Zealand planning to go tramping
In NZ we call trekking, hiking or bushwalking, “tramping”. Tramping is a traditional part of our culture, which we invite you to try, but ask that you understand and try to conform to some of the expectations of this culture.
Trampers entering the New Zealand mountains, which we call “bush” or “backcountry” are expected to be self sufficient. Trampers carry all their own equipment & food and stay overnight either in huts or camping in carried tents. If in doubt of your ability to reach, or find a hut please carry a tent. Tents may also be necessary or desirable if the hut is full.
Huts generally have mattresses, some have bunks and some have large sleeping platforms. Cooking facilities will be one of gas burners, a wood/coal stove or nothing (you supply your own). No utensils are supplied. Huts generally have a water tank and ‘long drop’ toilet. Please use and clean these with care. When toileting away from facilities, please make sure to bury your waste.
All huts on the Great Walks (and some others) have to be prebooked through DOC, but for most Huts (there are over 1000 spread across New Zealand) you cannot book & guarantee a bunk. To stay in any DOC Hut you require either an Annual Hut Pass, or you can buy Hut tickets from the local DoC office. For more than a few nights the Annual Hut pass is the cheapest way to go. FMC Membership entitles members to a 30% discount on the Annual Hut Pass
Some basic hut manners: You take your rubbish out with you. Rubbish bins are not supplied and you should not expect to burn it in the hut fireplace (if there is one). You don’t send fast members of your party ahead to grab bunks for slower members. Bunks in Back Country Huts are claimed as you arrive. Latecomers are expected to be welcomed and squeezed in as possible, including sleeping on the floor. Our huts are first and foremost “shelter from the storm”. Huts should also be cleaned and swept before leaving, and the hut visitors book filled in. Lastly, please be friendly, in the bush everyone is equal.
Lastly consider purchasing our instructional booklet, “Safety in the Mountains”, to learn about tramping safely in the New Zealand bush, and also please become familiar with the other information, including key safety resources available through our outdoor links page.