Hiking Fit For A King: Safety First This Long Weekend 

31st May 2023|2min
Media Release | For Immediate Release

The winter chill is beginning to settle in, but that doesn’t mean outdoor recreation is over until summer. The NZ Mountain Safety Council (MSC) is reminding hikers and trampers to take a cautious approach to winter tramping and hiking, especially over the long King’s Birthday weekend.  

King’s Birthday long weekend typically sees triple the amount of injuries, and search and rescues (SAR) for trampers, making it the public weekend with the highest incident rate*.  

Common injuries are a result from slips, trips and falls, as well as getting lost in the dark. Alongside injuries, the risk of hypothermia is also increased as the days are cooler, and winter weather sets in.  

For many of Aotearoa’s mountains, winter has already well and truly arrived, meaning any day hikes or overnight tramps require extra planning for the colder weather, potential for snow and shorter daylight, MSC Chief Executive Mike Daisley says.  

“Packing warm layered clothing, a rain jacket, a warm hat and gloves, a head torch and an appropriate emergency communication device are the absolute minimum regardless of the weather forecast and length of trip,” he says. 

This long weekend, understanding how and when the weather could impact any planned outdoor adventures is all the more important. 

“It’s important to understand your capabilities and skills and make sure you have a ‘plan B’ if something, such as the weather, changes.” 

“It’s really easy to underestimate the importance of quality planning and preparation during the colder months, even for short local walks. Having a plan B and a few extra supplies like a spare warm layer could be one of the most valuable decisions you make this holiday break,” he says.  

Using the Plan My Walk app can help hikers and trampers of all levels to find the right track for their abilities, check for any track alerts, see MetService weather warnings, and a suggested gear list that can be sent to group members and emergency contacts. Plan My Walk also includes the most applicable weather forecast for each track, so it’s an easy way to quickly establish what the forecast will be.   


Additional NZ Mountain Safety Council resources to support King’s Birthday Weekend adventures: 

       -      MSC x Macpac How-To videos provide expert tips on how to be ready for all weather, layering, taking care of your gear, fitting your pack and more – watch the full playlist.   

Refer to the new New Zealand Land Safety Code: 

  1. Choose the right trip for you: Learn about the route and make sure you have the skills for it.
  2. Understand the weather: It can change fast. Check the forecast and change your plans if needed.
  3. Pack warm clothes and extra food: Prepare for bad weather and an unexpected night out.
  4. Share your plans and take ways to get help: Telling a trusted friend your trip details and taking a distress beacon can save your life.
  5. Take care of yourself and each other: Eat, drink and rest, stick with your group and make decisions together.

For more information and media comments:  

Contact MSC Communications Advisor Rebekah Wilson at rebekah.wilson@mountainsafety.org.nz for any more information 

*Data Sourced from The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council (MSC) – There and Back, 2016.