A hefty tribute to NZ huts

Make sure your coffee table is stout if you buy Shelter From The Storm: The Story of New Zealand's Backcountry Huts (Craig Potton).

Shaun Barnett, Rob Brown and Geoff Spearpoint - all prominent outdoor authors and/or photographers - have produced a tome that weighs nearly 3kg.

It contains 364 large glossy pages, with as many or more photographs, frequently outstanding and lots of historic interest.

Naturally, I headed Otago way first, with several huts familiar to me. I now feel the urge to visit the others.

Pictured is Meg Hut, in the Pisa Range, near Cardrona.

Many huts had to be left out, because only 90 of the 1000 or more scattered around our tramping, hunting and recreational paradise received individual (or cluster) profiles.

The book builds around themes: pastoral huts, mining huts, huts for tourism and climbing, club huts, Internal Affairs Department huts, Forest Service huts, National Park Board and Lands and Survey huts, Doc huts, huts and monuments and science huts.

I suspect it might be years before I read about them all. In the meantime, however, I appreciated going through the background chapters and most of the southern profiles.

The research seems thorough and the writing is competent, complementing those fabulous pictures.

The book will now lie around to be browsed whenever I'm in the mood for a vicarious outdoor experience (quite often, dare I say), or perhaps when I'm in need of a little weight training.