Top tips for caring for our environment when hiking in New Zealand

Take only photographs, leave only footprints...

Hiking in New Zealand is the perfect way to be immersed in the stunning wilderness. Nature can be very delicate so it is important to be as eco-friendly as possible.

Here is our Hiking New Zealand guide to backcountry etiquette and minimizing your impact on the environment while out enjoying the wilderness.

Carry out your rubbish

Do not leave any rubbish behind when in the wilderness, instead carry it all out. Do not burn your plastic waste, as some types will create ozone-harming gases. Litter is unattractive, can be harmful to wildlife and can increase vermin and disease.

Bury toilet waste

If there are toilet facilities nearby then use them, if not, bury your toilet waste in a shallow hole well away from waterways, tracks, campsites and huts. In Mount Cook National Park you are now required to carry out your waste or use provided toilet facilities.

Campfires

In many areas there are fire bans in summer so bring along portable fuel stoves instead. If you use a fire then keep it small and only use dead wood. When you have finished, make sure the fire is properly out by wetting the ashes, then checking nothing is left smoldering. If you haven't used an established fireplace then remove rocks and other traces of the fire before leaving.

Do not pollute lakes and streams

When cleaning and washing, take the water and wash well away from the water source, this way the used water drains into the soil which acts as a filter. If you suspect a water source may be contaminated then boil it for at least three minutes, or else treat it chemically or with a special filter before drinking it.

Camp carefully

When leaving your camp make sure there is no trace left behind of your visit.

Follow the track

Keep to the track where one exists as this prevents damaging fragile plants.

Protect plants and animals

It is illegal to kill endemic species (creatures only found in NZ) and to remove plants from National Parks. Treat New Zealand's native forests and animal life with care and respect.

Respect our cultural heritage

Treat any places that have spiritual or historical significance with care and respect.

Have consideration for others

Many people visit New Zealand's wilderness and backcountry areas. Be considerate to other visitors who also have a right to enjoy these areas. This is especially so when using huts and camping areas as nobody has exclusive right to them. You must always be prepared to make room for others.

Enjoy your visit to New Zealand's wilderness and remember to take a last look before leaving an area; will the next visitor know you have been there?

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