Archives For Hut

A fresh look at the humble backcountry hut by Year 12 students at Rangiora High School has brought forward all kinds of new ideas and concepts for consideration.

Rangiora student Adam Mitchelmore chats to Jeff Dalley.

Rangiora student Adam Mitchelmore chats to Jeff Dalley

Throughout 2013 DOC Ranger, Jeff Dalley, has been working with visual communications and design students in Rangiora to design a new hut for the St James Cycle Trail, a 64 kilometre track through stunning scenery of mountain peaks, crystal clear rivers, high-country lakes, alpine meadows, sub-alpine beech forest, and expansive grassy river flats.

A prescriptive Standard Operating Procedure for hut design in the backcountry means new ideas and designs are rarely considered, but the project at Rangiora High School was a great way to think of new and creative approaches to building these shelters.

Callum Bradbury shows Jeff his Computer-Aided Design drawing.

Callum Bradbury shows Jeff his Computer-Aided Design drawing

The idea was the brainchild of teacher, Carey Prebble, who contacted DOC. Fortuitously a new hut was being considered and DOC staff were keen to collaborate.

The students were given a very specific and comprehensive design brief which would have been exactly what would have been provided to any architect.

The hut design, for 12 people and their bikes, and had to cater to various constraints, including cost, materials, weight and construction complexity.

A final hut design poster.

One student’s final hut design poster

Many of the students had fond memories of staying in DOC huts and wanted to ensure their designs would be attractive and comfortable for future visitors.

DOC staff were impressed with the students’ work, they were truly creative and many of the innovations designed by the students could be immediately incorporated in any final design.

By Chrissy Wickes, Biodiversity Ranger, Te Anau

My partner, son and I recently went for a walk up to Fern Burn Hut along Motatapu Track which is out the back of Glendu Bay just twenty minutes drive from Wanaka.

Chrissy and her son walking through farm land.

The start of the track follows a river through farm land

The track starts in farm land and follows a lovely river all the way through beech forest and up to the tussock lands around the hut.

Chrissy's son playing in the mud.

Stopping for a quick play in the mud

It is a fantastic short walk and a great hut to stay in overnight. The track to the hut is the beginning of a longer walk. It took us three hours with my son Shannon walking the easier sections. The section through the bush is like a small goat track and perhaps not so suitable for a child to walk alone due to the drops into the stream below. But the track is relatively straight forward for big people.

There were heaps of fish in the stream and we came across a group fishing and they caught a lovely trout as we approached which was neat to see.

Chrissy and her son looking at the caught trout.

Fishing for trout

It is a hot area in the summer so I recommend hats and sunblock and avoiding the heat of the day.

We were lucky it was over cast but we still felt the heat and it is not even summer yet. The stream that the track follows is lovely with small waterfalls and pools which would be great to cool off in on those really hot days. We had a great time on this beautiful overnight walk in a stunning part of the country.

Walking along the track to Fern Burn Hut.

Nearing Fern Burn Hut


Related links: