Safety in the Outdoors
There are hundreds of walking opportunities on conservation land and other lands throughout New Zealand. These offer a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities to people of differing ability to explore New Zealand’s natural, cultural and historic heritage.
Experience our New Zealand Great Walks. Enjoy backcountry hikes, hiking, hiking trails, bushwalking, trekking, tramping, backpacking, camping, exploring the backcountry trails of New Zealand. Explore, experience and enjoy Lord of the Rings
New Zealand Great Walks
Great Walks are the Department’s premier walking tracks, through areas of some of the best scenery in the country. The huts and tracks on the Great Walks are of a higher standard than other tramping tracks, and many of the Great Walks have booking systems to manage visitor pressure.
It is important when using tramping or hiking publications and pamphlets always to allow for the possibility of seasonal, naturaland man-made changes to tracks under snow. If the route guide states that alpine experience and equipment are necessary this means that ice axe, crampons and rope should be carried and that trampers or hikers should have the experience and skill to use them. Flooding, common in New Zealand often makes tracks and routes temporarily difficult or impassable. It also causes washouts, landslides and the destruction of bridges, and along with windthrow and avalanche damage can create drastic changes to backcountry tracks and routes. Upgrading and modification of tracks, bridges and huts are ongoing in New Zealand National Parks and this should always be remembered when tramping or hiking.
Tramping & Hiking New Zealand National Parks
All trampers, hikers, visitors and tourists who use our national parks should never forget the inestimable value of these splendid and inspiring areas. Every tramper or hiker has a personal responsibility to respect and support the ethics of preservation that underlies our national parks systems. To keep the impact of your presence to a minimum and to adhere to national park regulations, remember:
- all native animals, plants and natural features are protected
- animals may not be brought into a national park without permission
- keep to formed tracks where provided
- keep party sizes reasonable
- avoid taking bottles or cans tramping, bury food scraps, burn paper rubbish and carry anything else back
- bury all toilet wastes if there are no toilets
- use portable stoves for cooking wherever possible
- if you must use wood fires keep them small, use only dead wood, extinguish them after use, dismantle built-up fireplaces and bury ashes
- keep campsite constructions to a minimum, use existing campsites where possible and respect other campers’ privacy
- firearms may not be carried in a national park without a permit
Most national parks have a headquarters and one or more visitor display centres, as well as ranger stations. At all these places up-to-date information, tramping advice, maps, publications, weather forecasts and firearm and hunting permits are usually available, and hut fees can be paid. This is also where clear records of your tramping intentions must be left before beginning your trip, and just as importantly, where you must check out when your trip is safely completed. Failure to do this may result in an expensive and unnecessary search and rescue operation. In the event of an emergency, contact park rangers as soon as possible. Report any damage to park facilities to park staff as well.
All national parks run summer and holiday programmes for parks visitors. They are an excellent way of learning more about the park and usually consist of guided walks and other outdoor activities, talks and slide or film shows. Details of these programmes can be obtained from park headquarters.