Learn about the route and make sure you have the skills for it.
It’s important to choose a trip that suits you and everyone in your group.
When you are looking at the options, make sure you think about everyone’s fitness levels and experience in the outdoors.
Some questions to consider are:
There are lots of places to find information to help you answer these questions. You could try:
It can change fast. Check the forecast and change your plans if needed.
Weather can make or break a trip. It’s one of the most important things to consider when going into the outdoors.
No matter what the weather is, it will impact your trip. Bad weather (such as strong wind, rain and cold temperatures) can be very dangerous. The weather changes fast in New Zealand and you should be prepared for any weather. It can be sunny, rainy and windy all in one day.
Before any trip, check the weather using New Zealand’s public weather forecasting service, metservice.com. If there is bad weather forecasted, think carefully about whether your trip will be safe and consider changing or cancelling your plans. Pay careful attention to weather watches or warnings in the area you’re planning on visiting.
There are three weather forecast options:
When reading the forecast, ask yourself what it means for your plans. For example, heavy rain will cause river levels to rise and strong wind will make exposed ridges unsafe. Pack sunscreen, sunglasses, a sun hat and plenty of extra water in hot weather.
Make sure you have a back-up plan. While on your trip, keep an eye on the weather and be prepared to turn back or change your route if needed.
Prepare for bad weather and an unexpected night out.
Any trip, even if it is short or easy, needs preparation. Packing the right things makes trips safer and more enjoyable.
If you are going on a short trip, always pack:
For a longer trip (e.g. an overnight trip or a long day walk), pack:
These things will help keep you safe if the weather turns bad, you have an accident, get lost or are delayed. Some outdoor equipment stores will hire clothing and equipment if you don’t have your own.
Telling a trusted person your trip details and taking a distress beacon can save your life.
We all want our trips to go as planned – but sometimes they don’t. If you got hurt or lost on your trip, how would you get help?
Any time you are going into the outdoors you should:
Distress beacons can be used in emergencies to alert rescuers of your location and that you need help. Unlike cellphones, they work everywhere. You can rent distress beacons throughout New Zealand (e.g. outdoor equipment stores). If you own one, make sure it’s registered – it gives rescuers important details when providing help.
Eat, drink and rest, stick with your group and make decisions together
The best way to enjoy your experience in the outdoors and make it home safely is to look out for one another.
Groups splitting up is a common cause of search and rescue callouts. If someone in the group is slower, put them at the front or make sure you are walking at a pace that suits them. You should also stop and wait at every track junction/bridge to ensure you’re still all together. Don’t just walk on ahead and leave them to meet you at the end of the trip.