New Zealand Alpine Huts
The Southern Alps of New Zealand is home to numerous Alpine Huts, used by mountaineers and skiers as accommodation in the high mountains. The huts are owned and maintained by either the New Zealand Alpine Club (NZAC) or the Department of Conservation (DOC), and they are accessible to all users throughout the year.
The huts differ significantly from European style mountain accommodation, with only basic necessities provided, such as bunks with mattresses, long drop (self-contained) toilets, and mountain radios. Some of the larger huts also provide a range of cooking equipment, but on the whole, groups need to be self-sufficient, bringing with them their own cooking equipment, food and sleeping bags. Generally, the huts are not heated.
Pioneer Hut is situated at the head of the Fox Glacier neve, in Westland National Park. It is owned by the NZAC and is one of the region's busiest huts, sitting close to the Main Divide and some of New Zealand's popular climbing objectives including Mount Tasman and Mount Lendenfeld. The terrain around the Fox Glacier neve also makes Pioneer Hut a popular destination for our climbing courses.
Centennial Hut is situated at the head of the Franz Josef Glacier neve, in Westland National Park. It is owned by the NZAC and like Pioneer Hut is one of the region's busiest. Centennial Hut sits close to the Main Divide and offers fine ski touring opportunities and a multitude of easy to moderate climbing objectives including the Minarets. The terrain and location of Centennial Hut make it a popular destination for our climbing courses.
Almer Hut is situated alongside the Franz Josef Glacier in Westland National Park. One of the oldest huts in the park, Almer Hut is appealing in its rustic authenticity! It is owned by DOC and offers spectacular views down the glacier out towards the Tasman Sea. The hut is frequented by our climbing and skiing groups as they make their way out of the mountains.
Chancellor Hut is situated high on a shelf alongside the Fox Glacier in Westland National Park. It is owned by DOC and is frequented by our climbing and alpine trekking groups on their way out of the mountains. Above Chancellor Hut there are a number of popular climbs including Chancellor Dome. Chancellor Hut boasts the title of having perhaps the most scenic toilet in the park.
Located in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, Plateau Hut sits opposite the East Face of Aoraki Mount Cook, New Zealand's tallest peak. Owned by DOC, it is the staging point for ascents of Aoraki Mount Cook, Mount Dixon and other popular technical climbs such as the Silberhorn on Mount Tasman.
Kelman Hut is located above the Tasman Saddle in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. The Tasman Glacier area is renowned for its ski touring and mountaineering possibilities and Kelman is a popular destination with our Courses and Ascents Week programs, with nearby peaks including Mounts Green, Elie de Beaumont, and Hochstetter Dome.
TASMAN SADDLE HUT
Tasman Saddle Hut sits atop a spectacular rock outcrop at the head of the Tasman Glacier in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Owned by DOC, Tasman Saddle Hut is a favourite among the AC Guides, mostly because of the fantastic ski touring in the surrounding area. It is also a popular destination for our courses and Ascents Week, with nearby peaks including Mounts Aylmer, Green and Hochstetter Dome.
COLIN TODD HUT
Colin Todd Hut sits on the North West Ridge of Mount Aspiring in the heart of Mount Aspiring National Park. It is the staging point for ascents of Mount Aspiring and is commonly used for climbing courses as the surrounding Bonar Glacier area is home to a number of easy to moderate ascents including Mount French.
FRENCH RIDGE HUT
French Ridge Hut is popular with climbers and trekkers alike due to its stunning location just below the snow line in Mount Aspiring National Park. It offers amazing views across the Matukituki Valley and is used by our groups en route to and from the Bonar Glacier area below Mount Aspiring.
Aspiring Hut is the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park, sitting on the river flats of the Matukituki Valley trekkers and climbers pass by the hut on their way in and out of the park. Owned by DOC, it provides a welcome haven after a long descent from French Ridge Hut or Bevan Col.
Brewster Hut is located on the slopes of Mount Armstrong in Mount Aspiring National Park. A short, gut-busting climb up through native Beech and podocarp forest takes you into the alpine terrain that surrounds Brewster Hut. The hut is owned by DOC and is used for our two day Brewster Glacier Trek and as a staging point for the more challenging climb of the nearby Mount Brewster.
KIRTLE BURN HUT
High on the Pisa Range, between the Southern Lakes' towns of Queenstown and Wanaka you'll find the small and cosy Kirtle Burn Hut. Surrounded in fabulous ski touring terrain, the Kirtle Burn, owned by DOC, is the ideal base for our 3 day Backcountry Ski Tour.
Homer Hut is located in the heart of Fiordland National Park. It is owned by the NZAC and is the staging point for our ascents in the area including Mount Tutoko, Mitre Peak, Mount Madeline and the day climb, Talbot's Ladder. It is located close to some of New Zealand's most popular and challenging rock climbing crags, and of course Fiordland's tourist mecca, Milford Sound.
Camping is an alternative to staying in alpine huts and offers groups the flexibility and freedom to select their own camp location. It also provides a reprieve from the sometimes busy huts, particularly in the height of summer. Often skills courses will include a camping component, as developing snow camping skills is an essential part of learning mountaineering and it is a particular focus on our Alpine Expedition Course, Polar Training Course, and Seven Summits Training Course.
WYE CREEK EXPEDITION STYLE CAMP
Located near Queenstown our Wye Creek Expedition Style Camp is our winter base for our ice climbing trips. Styled after our very own tried and tested Everest Base Camp set up, these camps provide large, functional spaces with wooden floors and room to stand. We have two tents that allow for a kitchen/dining area and a separate communal bunk room sleeping quarters.
MCKERROW RANGE GEO DOME CAMP
Our comfortable high-mountain Geo Dome Camp is located in the McKerrow Range, nestled high above Lakes Wanaka and Hawea. Stylish and functional, the Geo Dome Camp boasts a wood fire for year-round comfort, wooden floors, dining tables and bunk beds. An ideal base for winter ski touring, backcountry skills courses and summer trekking.
SNOW CAVES AND BIVVYS
Occasionally, our groups will choose to use bivvy's and snow caves, sometimes as part of a skills course, and other times because they are visiting more remote locations without alpine huts. A bivvy, or bivouac, is a shelter without tents which can be temporary or in some cases permanent. Turner's Bivvy in Fiordland, for example, is a large, permanent, overhanging rock that has been used as shelter by mountaineers for over 100 years. They provide an ideal alternative to tent camping for small groups that choose to travel light, and off the beaten track.