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Huts are a great way to add interest and fun to a family adventure

A hut can be a great option for accommodation if you’re heading out on a family adventure. Staying in a hut is a quintessential Kiwi childhood experience. Many of us will recall the first time we stayed in a hut as a child - the sense of freedom, excitement and “getting back to basics”.

We are spoilt for choice in Canterbury when it comes to huts that are within easy reach of main centres. Banks Peninsula is a good place to start, with three delightful huts available that are well set-up for small children and family groups. These huts are a great option as the walking distances are manageable for littler legs. They are listed below in order of difficulty...

  • Information Centre on Quail Island. Source: Department of Conservation website.The Ōtamahua Hut is a bookable 12-bunk serviced hut on Ōtamahua/ Quail Island. The hut was built between 1910 and 1920 for the animal quarantine station caretaker by the Department of Agriculture. Black Cat Cruises operates a regular ferry service from Lyttelton Wharf between October and April - groups must book ahead. A weekend only service runs between April and September. Alternatively, you can make your own way to the Island by canoe, kayak or private boat.
  • The Rod Donald Hut is 9-bunk serviced hut that is owned and maintained by the Rod Donald Banks Peninsula Trust. It offers wonderful views over the Little River area and surrounding hills. The hut is a 50-minute walk from Port Levy Saddle via the Te Ara Pātaka track. Port Levy Saddle can be accessed either from the car park at the top of the Western Valley Road from Little River, or via the Te Ara Pātaka track from Montgomery Scenic Reserve.
  • The Packhorse Hut is a bookable serviced 9-bunk stone hut. The hut is situated on a low open saddle on the ridge between Mt Bradley and the Remarkable Dykes and can be seen against the skyline from many parts of the reserve and the Lyttelton Harbour basin. Year-round access to the hut is possible via the Kaituna Valley Packhorse Hut Track.

Use the online booking system on the Department of Conservation website to stay these huts. Hut booking fees range from $7.50 for young adults to $15 for adults per night. Children 10 years and under are free.

Visit the Rod Donald Trust website for more information about walking and tramping tracks on Banks Peninsula.


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Latest research and news

Here are some snippets on the latest physical activity research or news that we found interesting.

Latest academic research studies have found that exercise increases life expectancy regardless of the size of people - proving exercise is critical to longevity.

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A US university study has found that women who keep moving during pregnancy may produce children with stronger motor skills.

[read more]

A leading New Zealand exercise expert says an obesity epidemic and a physical inactivity crisis are gripping this country.

[read more]

Read more Active Canterbury news.


Active Canterbury Newsletter

The Active Canterbury Newsletter is produced bi-monthly and aims to keep local physical activity providers informed. It has a focus on latest physical activity research, upcoming education and training opportunities, key events and tips on how to practically apply research and industry tools.

View the latest newsletter: AC Network Newsletter November-December 2019

Access previous editions of the newsletter.