View Full Version : Zealand Hut With a Kid

Bill O
11-25-2012, 04:20 PM
I am thinking about taking my three year old (will be almost 4 next summer) into Zealand next summer.

What is that hike like? Any thoughts, suggestions and tips for hiking with a 4 year old? I've heard Zealand is very kid friendly.

11-26-2012, 09:24 AM
Getting to the hut is very simple and a nice walk. Just a little climb right before the hut. From the hut to Zealand wouldn't be hard either with no real steep spots and lots of smooth walking. Zealcliff would at least be a good place to bring a kid that has a great view that wouldn't be too hard for them. I don't recall any sections that would be hard for a kid (shorter legs).

Bill O
11-26-2012, 04:21 PM
Thanks. As of right now, I think as far as we'd go would be the Hut. It might be too soon to do the peaks unless we get in some hiking this winter.

How big are the bunk rooms at Zealand Hut?

11-26-2012, 04:23 PM
Thanks. As of right now, I think as far as we'd go would be the Hut. It might be too soon to do the peaks unless we get in some hiking this winter.

How big are the bunk rooms at Zealand Hut?
One thing they will probably like is the waterfall right at the hut as well. I have only hiked to the hut and have not stayed at it. I used the bathroom and then continued on up the trail, so I don't know how big the bunk rooms are.

Bill O
01-27-2013, 09:59 AM
Any other color on this topic?

02-03-2013, 09:50 PM
It's a great hike -- if your then-four-year-old gets tired of walking, then you can carry him/her without much of an issue. Most of the way is flat, and it's an interesting stretch of trail (especially once you get into the moose-pond regions). Blueberry bushes bloom along the trail, there are fun wooden walkways over some parts of the water, and the trail doesn't get steep until you're right in front of the hut. It's a great kid-friendly hike. You two will have a fantastic time.

The hut has two large rooms with bunks going three and four levels up, and one small room with only four beds. I'd get there on the early side of the evening if you want to secure a bottom bunk for your child. There aren't any railings on those beds that I can remember. I still don't let Alex or Sage sleep in the higher bunks (and they're 10 and almost-8).

FWIW, I wouldn't consider Zealand Mt. to be "easy" -- that would probably be way too much for a beginning hiker (young or old).

Hope this helps!

Bill O
02-08-2013, 07:49 PM
Cool, thanks for the info.

Worst case, I was planning on carrying him.

Cast Iron Rose
02-21-2013, 05:06 PM
My first ?big girl? hike was in August 1962 when my Dad took my sister and I to Zealand for two nights. I was 5.5 and she barely 4. This one early hike profoundly affected me, as if a veil lifted from my eyes and I saw the world in color for the first time.

YES, by all means, bring the little one! Just be patient and savor the hike as if it was a treasure you and your child will reap the rewards of for your entire life. On that trip we two girls carried dolls in our arms and stopped to play in every puddle. We napped and ate a late afternoon meal of ?Dad food? (crackers, hard salami and cheese) beside the beaver ponds, where I heard my first red winged blackbird. I still have the now brittle, frail snakeskin we found woven in the grass there.

Not once did Dad say: ?Hurry up girls!?. On this first hike he wisely knew to live in the moment as children do. I think we hiked in all the way from Rt. 302 back then. Dad used to laugh that we started in late morning, but we arrived at the steep last bit just before the hut in full darkness! Dad, carrying his giant, heavy, smelly canvas army backpack, gave us each a flashlight to shine on the trail as he carried us, one in each arm, to the hut. Decades later, at every family gathering, he would never tire of telling how the flashlights were shining everywhere except on the trail...and I would kiss him and tell him my memory of my little arm around his neck as he carried us....and how I felt safe in the darkness.

We have so many other memories of that first Zealand trip: lost my first tooth; saw our first man in underpants; helped set the tables; watched my sister saved by a lady just as she was about to slide over the waterfall, where we had been told not to go. Haha! That lady sat us on a rock and told us that rattlesnakes would kill us if we moved off that rock. When Dad woke from his nap in the hut we refused to come to him when he called....he had to pick us up off of that rock and carry us away from it before we felt safe.

You never know what experience will affect your child as this one did me. The key to success to hiking with your 4-yr old? Patience, patience, patience and simple joy to be sharing the experience. With those items on your ?hiking essentials? list, Zealand is definitely do-able for a 4-yr old, and possibly even a Dad.
And...bring a flashlight.

03-22-2013, 10:50 AM
Many people travel New Zealand for hiking and stay in huts and tents too. The issue is that the sheds cannot provide the variety of trampers, so they get too populated, and late arrivers end up getting to sleep close by in camp tents.