Novelty  Hot Water Huts

The Backcountry has many surprises, occasionally even a spot of luxury. Ian Bade gives a couple of tips about where to find a hot shower.

Several huts have some form of heating for supplying hot water to a shower or bath. Whenever I come across a such a hut, I admit to always testing the facilities, and enjoying the occasion: whether it was lounging in the huge bath at the Kahurangi Lighthouse Keeper’s hut, washing off salt after wading across the Big River estuary; or having a shower at the Lake Chalice Hut after a five-day traverse along the Richmond Range. Others huts with showers include Anatoki Forks Hut (Kahurangi National Park) and the two below.

Waatanga Hut, Waatanga Conservation Area, Taranaki

This hut is located on the track to the Te Rerepahupahu Falls (60 metres high). I’ve visited this hut three times but am yet to find it on any map or DOC website. It can be seen, however, on Google Earth. A very comfortable fourbunker, the hut has a fireplace and wetback, which supplies hot water to a shower. The fresh water is piped from a nearby source. The hut appears to be a base for pest control operations and lies just a couple of hours from the roadend. The level track, a former logging tramline, follows the Waatanga Valley with bridges across the river at several points. The area also boasts the Mt Damper Falls and the nearby Rerekapa Falls (13 metres) on the Rerekapa Track, which are all easily accessible from the DOC campsite at Mt Damper on the Mangapapa Road.

photo: Ian Bade – Waitaanga Hut

Careys Hut, North Mavora Lake, Greenstone–Mavora Track, Otago

Careys Hut and its location are among the best I have visited. The eight-bunk hut appears to have originally been a bach. It has an open fireplace as well as a wood-burning Shacklock oven fitted with a wet-back. This provides hot water to a sink, as well as the outside laundry tubs and shower cubicle. The hut has four-wheel drive access, but most trampers and those walking the Te Araroa Trail seem to use the campsite at the other end of the lake. When I arrived there was no water running and the header tank was empty. I realized the water is probably turned off during the winter so I traced the inlet pipe and found a master tap on the feed from the nearby stream. With a limited wood supply, heating the water proved difficult. Twigs and matagouri branches only resulted in a rather cold shower.

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