Three huts on the Whanganui Journey Great Walk have been closed and are being fumigated after reports of bed bugs.
Department of Conservation director of heritage and visitors Steve Taylor said the department was taking a precautionary approach after a single report of a bed bug attack.
Taylor said bed bugs had not been previously reported in huts along the Whanganui River, but the report had come from a credible source.
“Consequently, we are treating this as an urgent matter and have responded immediately.”
Taylor said the Whakahoro and Tīeke Huts would close temporarily while the John Coull Hut would stay closed over winter.
The number of people affected would be limited because the Great Walk season for the kayak journey ends in one week.
DOC had contacted people with bookings and tour guide companies had also been advised them of the closures and treatment plans.
Taylor said many people had indicated they would still proceed with their plans but might choose to camp rather than use the huts.
Those who chose to go ahead with their plans would receive a refund, he said.
Taylor said bed bugs were not a common issue across the DOC hut network but infestations did appear from time to time.
He said DOC’s approach was to work swiftly to get on top of any minor infestations before they became a bigger issue.
“Obviously, we want people to enjoy their experiences in the great outdoors, and part of doing that comes from knowing the facilities and services the department provides can be relied upon.
“Visitors to these fantastic DOC facilities can do their part by carefully cleaning their hiking gear between locations and by reporting any bedbug sightings or attacks promptly so we can deal with them as soon as possible.”