Source: Department of Conservation
Date: 16 March 2021
The 20-bunk Pahautea Hut is one of the most popular in the DOC’s Waikato district, and has been added to DOC’s online booking system – so visitors now need to reserve their spots.
In favourable weather, visitors to Pirongi’s ridges and summit can see the Kawhia and Raglan harbours and Mt Karioi, and beyond to the Tasman Sea – as well as expansive views across the Waikato basin.
“Since its opening in 2015, Pahautea Hut has been a popular destination for those exploring Pirongia Forest Park,” says DOC Waikato Senior Ranger, Glyn Morgan.
“It has mattresses, toilets and a water supply, but no heating or cooking facilities. Folks intending to stay overnight on the mountain need to come prepared with a portable cooker.
“If you intend to camp, you need to use the online booking system to ensure you’ve reserved a spot at the campsite. The campsite is free, but spaces are limited.
“The new online booking system available on the DOC website has been working well and is quite simple to use. Our friendly staff at the DOC Kauaeranga Visitor Centre can help if you do have problems.”
Hut bookings are for any bunk bed (not a specific bunk bed).
Annual and six-month Backcountry Hut Passes can be used at this hut, not the single night back-country hut tickets. Bookings are currently open for stays to 30 June 2021.
Visitors to the Pahautea Hut are also asked to sign the visitor’s book.
Close to the 959m summit of Mount Pirongia, the Pahuatea hut is at the junction of Bell and Hihikiwi Tracks. Visitors can take the four to six-hour Hihikiwi Track and enjoy the summit views at the hut for an overnight stay.
The Bell, Tahuanui, Mahaukura and Tirohanga tracks offer a one-two day walk to the hut.
The various routes leading to the Pahautea Hut are considered suitable for advanced trampers. The tracks are narrow and there are sections where chains have been fixed to rock faces for trampers to use to leverage themselves up and down. A reasonable standard of fitness and tramping experience is recommended.
Pirongia Forest Park is suitable for tramping through until mid-autumn. Tracks can become muddy once autumn and winter sets in and trampers should be properly equipped for these conditions.
DOC encourages people exploring Pirongia to go prepared with appropriate clothing and footwear, food and drink, reliable forms of communication – and to tell someone their plans in advance.
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