The energetic rangers I work with in the Recreation Team at the Bay of Islands area office really spark at this time of year – it’s when they begin visiting some of the most beautiful locations in the Bay so they can spruce up our fantastic trampers’ huts for new season visitors. (My role with the team is admin-based so I just get to wave cheerfully as they load up the trucks and boats, slip slop and slap and head out to the Bay…)
Hut housekeeping includes good old fashioned sweeping and dusting (the guys are great at this!) general maintenance, sorting out the composting toilets, trimming vegetation and ensuring the huts and surrounding areas and tracks are welcoming as well as safe.
This year some refurbishment includes new, thick, super-comfy mattresses and they’re just what you’ll want to sink into after the fantastic, mind-blowing, heart-pounding eight-hour walk to the stunning Cape Brett.
You’ll be able to relax in the historic hut – once a lighthouse keepers’ house – and discover the history of the lighthouse settlement through the recently published Hut Book, full of pictures and stories about the keepers and their families who kept the light shining for 60-odd years.
All that for just $12 a night for adults, $6 a night for children.
If you love the idea of a couple of nights at the Cape, but don’t fancy the hike in (and be warned, it’s a biggie) you can charter a Russell or Paihia-based boat to transport you and your food, cooking utensils, sleeping bags, fishing rods and diving gear.
Another favourite is the Lane Cove Hut. It sits in an idyllic spot at the head of Pekapeka Bay in Whangaroa Harbour: it’s right on the water, has a fantastic shower with a view (enclosed, but outdoors and looking over the sparkling water) and if you’re feeling energetic you can climb the Duke’s Nose! Again, you have to take everything with you (well, we do offer the best locations) and there’s the option of a two-hour walk or chartering a boat from Totara North or Whangaroa township.
Motukawanui Island, off Matauri Bay, is in a world of its own – on a beach (be careful of the New Zealand endangered dotterel), with great fishing and swimming and archaeological sites. Yes, there are plenty of our lovely thick mattresses there too – and all the other comforts of home, provided you bring them!
These huts needs to be booked, especially for the peak of the holiday season, so call Hope at our office (+64 9 407 0300) and book in … before I do!