Celebrating Matariki in the outdoors

20th June 2022|3min

The new public holiday celebrating Matariki offers another opportunity to connect with the outdoors over a long weekend. We share our top locations for an overnight trip to celebrate Matariki while star-gazing.

This story was originally published on Stuff.co.nz | These top picks can be found and then planned in MSC’s Plan My Walk app. As June’s days are shorter and cooler, solid planning and packing of important gear makes for a successful adventure. Header photo: Camp Stream Hut, Amber Ledbrook

Pinnacles Hut | Tom Harris

Pinnacles Hut | Tom Harris

North Island 
  • Pinnacles Hut, Coromandel 
    The tramp to Pinnacles Hut on the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail is one of Aotearoa’s most popular, particularly with young families and first-time trampers. It’s location in the Coromandel means heavy rain and strong winds frequently make the track hazardous to attempt, so watch this safety video to help prepare.
  • Mt Heale Hut, Aotea/Great Barrier Island 
    The Mt Heale hut can be accessed via a handful of tracks in the Aotea Conservation Park which leads you through a kauri forest, across boardwalks, and to the island’s summit and the hut. Known for its incredible sunrises, this hut is an amazing viewpoint for star gazing.
Sunrise Hut | Lydia Marston

Sunrise Hut | Lydia Marston


  • Sunrise Hut, Ruahine Forest Park, Hawkes Bay 
    The Sunrise Track is an easy 2-3hour one-way walk (allow more time with children) to the Sunrise Hut. Implied in the name, this hut is a stargazing-sunrise enthusiast’s heaven.
  • Pouakai Circuit, Taranaki 
    This 2-3 day tramp offers the best of the Taranaki region. The 25km track leads trampers through forest, alpine tussocks with spectacular views of Taranaki Maunga and the farmland below. Planning and preparation is especially important here as Taranaki Maunga is known for high winds, very fast-changing weather, total cloud cover and freezing conditions at any time of the year.
South Island 
Woolshed Creek Hut | Rebekah Wilson

Woolshed Creek Hut | Rebekah Wilson

  • Woolshed Creek Hut, Mt Somers Area, Canterbury 
    Following the miners track alongside the Woolshed Creek until the tracks climbs up to the summit before descending to the hut. This track is great for first-time trampers or families. The hut is set in tussock country surrounded by small hills great for exploring for panoramic views. Watch this safety video to help prepare.
  • Green Lake Hut, Fiordland National Park 
    This southern Fiordland gem is located on the stunning Green Lake, and in an International Dark Sky Reserve means there are optimum star gazing opportunities.
Hooker Hut | Jen Parkes

Hooker Hut | Jen Parkes

  • Hooker Hut, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park 
    The 90-minute walk to the recently restored Hooker Hut follows the Hooker Valley Track and crosses two incredible swing bridges with views of Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mueller Lake. Being near the country’s tallest mountain means the weather is very changeable, so check the latest details here. 

  • Learn more about Matariki | A glimpse into te ao Māori with a guest perspective from Kuruho
  • Stay safe outdoors | Aotearoa’s tracks can differ dramatically and require different levels of fitness, equipment and planning, so it pays to do some research first before you hit the track. During the colder months, checking the weather up until departure, having a Plan B, and packing the appropriate clothing and gear are as important as ever. For more helpful guidance and free resources for planning an outdoor adventure explore our website.

Download the Plan My Walk app, and refer to the new New Zealand Land Safety Code.