Day Walking

Heading out for a 'Day Walk'  is a very popular and easily accessible way to explore New Zealand's great outdoors. From a simple boardwalk loop in the native forest just off the main highway to the challenging Tongariro Alpine Crossing New Zealand is overflowing with great day walk options.  

Did you know? 

72% of search and rescues are to recover a single person or someone who has been separated from a multi-person group.
There and Back, 2016

No two day walk tracks are the same. Each one will require different levels of fitness, equipment and planning. It's important to recognise that the perceived risk of a day walk can be very low, where as the potential risk can be surprisingly high. It doesn't take a big injury to slow you or your group down considerably and there are plenty of people who've got lost at a track junction. If you do have an 'incident' in the Kiwi outdoors and you end up spending an unexpected night out, the temperature can drop dramatically and its often damp as well. You'll be thankful you planned accordingly.


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Outdoor Safety Code

The first thing to remember is that every trip needs a plan, even a short day walk. It doesn't take much to turn a short walk into an 'unexpected night out' in the bush. If you've planned before you hit the track using the outdoor safety code as a guide, there's a good chance you'll be prepared to handle an unexpected turn of events. 

Safety is the outcome of good planning and good decision making
– Mike Daisley, MSC CEO
Find our more about the Outdoor Safety Code below. 


Key Insights 

Each year 769,363 people go tramping in New Zealand. 447,366 are international visitors.
There and Back, 2016
51% Of Tramping injuries were during the first four months of the year.
There and Back, 2016.  


47% of Tramping fatalities occur in December and January.
– There and Back, 2016. 


Auckland has 8.2x the national average for tramping injuries. 
– There and Back, 2016. 


The Central North Island has 10.5x the national average of search and rescues.
– There and Back, 2016.  

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 CREDIT: N Watson

Key resources

Activity Guides 

 This guide has been developed to help you plan your trip into the outdoors. It's available to read and download for FREE. To read click on the image below.

day walks eng Read and download this guide in:


Head to MSC's YouTube channel and explore the 'Get outdoors' playlist. There is lots of information on our Facebook page as well. 

'How easy is it to get lost outdoors?' - Newshub, 2016


Did you know?

You can expect the temperature to drop 0.7°c for every 100m of elevation gained.


What should you take?

New Zealand weather is very changeable. Even if you set out in the sunshine and there is no rain in the forecast it's not uncommon to have an isolated shower. Make sure you take rain protection and extra layers you can put on if it gets cold. Having the right supplies means that you're more likely to remain warm, comfortable and safe for the duration of your trip. Read our blog for more on this. 

Wear the right fabrics. Clothing only retains what heat your body produces. Certain fabrics wick moisture away from the body and retain warmth. Avoid cotton clothing – when cotton gets wet it ceases to insulate you. Wet and cold clothing significantly contributes to hypothermia. 

Wear the right fabrics. Clothing only retains what heat your body produces.

There are a few other essentials you should have on you when tramping

Note, this is by no means the full list, rather the items you really shouldn't leave without. Head to our resources section for more on gear lists. 

  • A comfortable backpack. A good estimate is 25-30L bag per person. 
  • specifically designed MSC pack liner, or you can use a (new) rubbish bag but be careful you don't poke holes in it when loading / unloading your gear. This is one of the simplest yet most important pieces of equipment. It keeps everything in your pack dry.  An elasticated, fabric pack cover over your pack may not keep your things dry in rain.
  • Shelter. Even if you’re not planning on staying in huts, a lightweight emergency shelter is a good idea.
  • Always take more than you think you'll need. 
  • A basic first aid kit with any personal medication you may need.  
  • A map of your walk.
  • A communication device. Mobile phones have limited coverage in most outdoor locations. If you are going into a remote area consider hiring a personal locator beacon. 
  • A basic survival kit.


Helpful links 

Department of Conservation - Explore walks in your region  

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Read Outdoor Safety Code
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