Tips for safe hiking in New Zealand

Walking is one of the best ways to experience New Zealand's dramatic landscapes. Follow these tips to keep yourself safe while hiking.

Safety is your responsibility

Before you begin your adventure, make sure you know the five simple rules of the Outdoor Safety Code to help you stay safe.

1. Plan your trip

Seek local knowledge. Plan the route you will take and the amount of time you can reasonably expect it to take.

2. Tell someone

Tell someone your plans and leave a time/date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned.

3. Be aware of the weather

New Zealand's weather can be highly unpredictable. Check the forecast and expect weather changes. Also check for avalanche alerts as they can occur in any season.

4. Know your limits

Challenge yourself within your physical limits and experience.

5. Take sufficient supplies

Make sure you have enough food, clothing, equipment and emergency rations for the worst-case scenario. Take an appropriate means of communication.

Take advice from locals in the know

Local guides and Department of Conservation staff can offer crucial information on current weather and track conditions. Visitors who choose to ignore the advice of local experts often require assistance from Search and Rescue officials.

More hiking tips

  • Leave your detailed trip intentions with a trusted contact. Be sure to let them know when you return.
  • Leave notes in hut books, even if you do not stay in the hut. 
  • If you are travelling away from common tracks, consider mountain radios and personal locator beacons.
  • Take appropriate clothing, equipment and maps.  

If you become lost

  • If you become lost, the best thing to do is to stay in one place; that way you will increase your chances of being rescued sooner.
  • Use your communications device to tell local authorities you're lost.
  • Then set up a camp and keep yourself warm. You can move your body to keep warm, but stay in one place.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is considered one of New Zealand’s top tramping experiences and one of the best day walks in the world. Weather conditions on the Crossing can change rapidly. It can be an extreme environment, particularly in winter with snow, ice and high winds. So it's important to be well prepared.

Guided treks offer you the chance to enjoy the very best of Tongariro National Park while benefiting from the local knowledge and experience of fully-trained guides.

For the latest Tongariro Alpine Crossing information, or to arrange a guided trek, contact Department of Conservation Whakapapa or Adrift Outdoors.

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