Blogger Sharlene Laskey tells us about her mission to visit all of New Zealand’s huts and shelters.
Trekking to 67 huts over the last few years has been an amazing adventure which all started at New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park in 2012.
DOC’s Mangatepopo Hut on the northern circuit was my first ever hut experience and it spurred me on to become a passionate visitor with a soft spot for our shelters. My family is not very ‘outdoorsy’ so it was the first time I truly realised how beautiful our backyard is.
After my first remarkable adventure, I began discovering more spaces, and I started to notice the diversity and historical significance of the huts.
Some are old and some are new, they are full of history, or history is waiting to be made. You can stay in huts of all shapes, sizes and materials and often they spring out at the last moment in a valley or are perched ‘just so’ to make the most of the view.
The things I love most about the hut experience are:
• People coming together from all walks of life in a unique setting.
• The array of visitors, a combination of locals and overseas guests, ranging from families with young children to those still enjoying the outdoors well into their 80’s.
• The way it brings life back to basics (no time schedules or deadlines) and nourishes your soul.
• Beholding stunning scenery and landscapes.
DOC is doing great work to help maintain our huts. Throughout my journey so far I have also met countless individuals and groups all over the country who have fallen for our huts just like I have. Many of them are volunteering time and effort to bring our shelters back up to the mark.
My blog came about once I decided to try and inspire others to get outdoors and see what I was seeing. Hopefully I can encourage readers to be equally as zealous as I am. The first step to save our huts in the future is to cultivate the passion now. Every hut has a place, and they are all important in the bigger picture of looking after our history.
I’ve visited lots of huts, but it’s just a drop in the ocean when there are more than 900 to discover. It’s my lifetime journey and weekend by weekend, holiday by holiday, I’ll be experiencing huts and sharing summaries of the gems in our backyard on my blog.
Bushline Hut in the Nelson Lakes National Park was my favourite of 2015. Looking at the huts still on my list, I’m confident the best is yet to come.