The Okarito YHA is the old schoolhouse. The original school was established in 1867 at the wharf due to the gold rush in Okarito. The current building was erected in 1901 on its present site although parts of the building are thought to date back to the original building. Okarito’s population dwindled through the 20s and 30s and the school eventually closed in 1946.
DOC, YHA and the local community undertook a huge restoration project in a joint effort in 1990. DOC produced a conservation plan for the schoolhouse in 1988 and further improvements include modern kitchen facilities, repainting and restoring the exterior of the building, financed with money raised by the local community.
Today the Okarito YHA offers travellers a unique chance to experience the life of a bygone era, a chance to sample the history and culture of a small New Zealand settlement the way it was.
Image supplied by the Department of Conservation (DOC).