Know your limits
A walk in a city park is very different to a walk in a National Park. Don’t underestimate any “walk” outside of the main centres. You need to be reasonably fit to enjoy our bush, mountains and National Parks. Check the recommended level of fitness required for any walk before you head off.
Plan your trip and tell someone where you are going
Plan out your route, leave the details with someone and give a date for when to raise the alarm if you haven’t returned. You can find a handy Outdoor Intentions form(opens in new window) and more useful information on the AdventureSmart(opens in new window) website. The more details you provide about your intentions, the more quickly you can be located and rescued if something goes wrong.
You need the right clothing, footwear, equipment and supplies for any time in the outdoors. A cheap raincoat will not keep you warm and dry in the bush or in windy conditions. Shoes that you wear on the street will not be good enough when you are walking on muddy tracks or climbing over rocks. Even a short bush walk in summer on the outskirts of Auckland requires sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen, snacks and plenty of water. Always make sure you have enough food and water to cover you in an emergency. Follow all safety precautions as per the outdoor safety tips on the AdventureSmart website.
Check the weather
New Zealand’s weather can change extremely quickly and can be severe at times. A day that starts out sunny may turn cold, wet and windy. You must always be prepared for wet, cold weather if you are heading into the bush, the mountains or onto the water. On days when it is sunny, remember that the sun’s UV rays are stronger in New Zealand than much of Europe or North America, so be prepared to wear a hat and sun block. Always check the weather forecast and be prepared for four seasons in one day. Check weather conditions and any alerts from DOC(opens in new window) (Department of Conservation) before you set out on a walk or hike. Treat all weather warnings seriously.
If lost, seek shelter and stay where you are
New Zealand has highly skilled search and rescue teams throughout the country. If you get lost, seek shelter and wait. Use a torch/camera flash to attract attention at night. Try and position something highly coloured and visible from the air to help a helicopter search during the day. For more information visit the AdventureSmart website.
Before lighting a fire, find out the risks and whether you need a permit at checkitsalright.nz(opens in new window).