Historic Field Hut makes for a great day trip. Located on the western side of the Tararua Forest Park and accessed from the Kapiti region. Field Hut was built in 1924 by the Tararua Tramping Club and is the oldest recreational hut in the Tararua Ranges.
The hut’s on the famous Southern Crossing route from Otaki Forks to Kaitoke, making it a popular place to stop for the night before tackling the open tops and the traverse across to Alpha Hut the next day. For the day walker it’s a great spot for lunch, located on the bush edge, it’s a 30 to 60 minute walk to Table Top which offers great views on a fine day.
The walks a continuous climb from the carpark at Otaki Forks to Field Hut (900 metres). The tracks well defined but muddy in places, I recommend a sturdy pair of tramping boots. Allow 4 to 6 hours for the return trip, with a good level of fitness required.
Otaki Forks to Field Hut Return 12.3 Kilometres, 4 to 6 Hours
From the carpark take the footbridge across the Waiotauru River. The track to Field Hut is a very easy track to follow but still take a map with you. At the beginning there are a number of track junctions for shorter walks and tracks to other areas of the Tararua Forest Park. All junctions are well signposted.
From the river the track climbs to a grassy terrace which was once farmland. Head across and begin the steep zig zaggy climb to the main ridge. This is the steepest section of the walk and DOC (Department of Conservation) has done a great job with this section of the track. Back when I first started tramping, 30 or more years ago, this was an open grassy slope. Now it’s covered with trees and plants where a well graded gravel track climbs amongst them. The climb to the main ridge is 30 to 60 minutes. It will be obvious when you reach it, the bush will become denser and the track will change to a tramping track which can be muddy and is rooty in places. Follow the markers on the trees, the track’s easy to follow and climbs steadily to Field Hut. Allow 2 to 3 hours to reach the Hut.
Coming from Wellington turn right off State Highway 1 just before the Otaki River Bridge into Otaki Gorge Rd. Follow the road for 18 kilometres. The road becomes narrow with some gravel and one stream to ford.
There are camping sites and toilet facilities here. For more information on camping fees, check-out Otaki Forks Campsites.
The essentials to take with you
I suggest taking some warm clothes, food and drink. Once you leave the carpark there are no streams to refill drink bottles until you reach Field Hut. This is what I recommend you take:
- Food and drink
- Waterproof raincoat
- Sturdy footwear
- Warm clothing: thermals and fleece
- Hat and gloves
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- First Aid Kit
Find out more today
To print the above map, click on mapometer.com at the top of the map. The printing and PDF option at the bottom of this page will print or download the post except the map. Once you’ve clicked on mapometer, the link will take you to the printing or export option. If mapometer asks for your location decline, otherwise it will take you to your location and not the above map. This map gives great information for getting to the start of the track, however it’s only a guide of the route, for more detail on the track click on the topomap below, and this can also be printed.
Expect some variation in times depending on conditions and personal fitness levels. I’ve graded this a medium walk. The tracks are well defined and well-marked, there are no stream or river crossings and the duration of this walk is less than 6 hours. Whereas, a hard walk is one that is more than 6 hours, will have longer steeper climbs, have river crossings and requires good navigational skills.
Have a great walk 🙂