Safety in New Zealand’s Great Outdoors

New Zealand is a paradise for those keen to get out and about in the great outdoors. Within the space of a day you could explore ancient forests, mountain vistas, stunning coastline, and volcanic landscapes while seeing wildlife unique to this country!!

Lia van de Krol -Lake Tekapo
Lia van de Krol -Lake Tekapo – University of Auckland, Semester 1, 2015

Aotearoa boasts diverse and vast wildness areas containing untouched terrain, spectacular scenery, native forest, lakes and rivers, alpine ranges, rugged mountain peaks, coastal regions, vast valleys and deep gorges. There are an endless number of activities to take part in from tramping, mountain biking, caving, rock climbing and canyoning, to surfing, rafting, river sledging, diving, skiing snowboarding and more.

Elizabeth Plascencia - Mt. Cook
Elizabeth Plascencia – Mt. Cook – University of Otago, Semester 1, 2015

These magnificent landscapes can be remote yet easily accessible and one great way to experience this country is hiking (also called tramping or trekking)! With thousands of kilometers of walking tracks available, accommodating a multitude of fitness and skill levels, there are options for everyone! New Zealand hosts nine GREAT WALKS that take you through awe-inspiring landscapes highlighting NZ’s natural beauty. These walks are managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and boast well-formed. Find out more at:

Rachel Zajchowski - Hiking Mount Brewster
Rachel Zajchowski – Hiking Mount Brewster – University of Otago, Semester 1, 2015

We encourage you to get enjoy all this country has to offer but want to ensure you make it home safely! Although we don’t have dangerous animals, scary snakes, and terrifying giant poisonous spiders there are still dangers and tragically each year people lose their lives in New Zealand’s wilderness.

Before any trip, be it a wander in the wop-wops, a stroll in the outdoors, or a multi-day tramp, it is important you follow the 5 simple rules of the Outdoor Safety Code:

1. Plan your Trip: Seek local knowledge and 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 date and time for when to raise the alarm if you haven’t returned. Use the free online tools available on the AdventureSmart website ( to create a detailed trip plan, which you can leave with or email to an IFSA-Butler NZ staff member or trusted friend and complete an IFSA-Butler Travel form: The more details you provide, the quicker and more effectively search and rescue teams will be able to respond.

3. Be aware of the conditions: New Zealand’s weather can be highly unpredictable. Check the forecast and expect weather changes. You can check the weather at:

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 emergency communication like a locator beacon or satellite phone and remember that mobile phone coverage in the great outdoors is limited.


For more information about outdoor safety visit:

The Department of Conservation:

The Mountain Safety Council website:

100% Pure New Zealand: