Plan for a summer like no other
Another Aotearoa-focused summer is upon us, and the NZ Mountain Safety Council hopes our team of 5 million isn’t writing off exploring the country we know and love just yet.
The year is coming to a close in just a matter of days and it feels like 2021 comprised mostly of online meetings, masks and managing cancelled events and plans.
This has left a lot of us thinking ‘is it even worth planning ahead?’
The silver lining of another Kiwi summer is we know our great outdoors always supplies us with the goods. From beach days to Great Walks and tramping, to camping by the lake, we just can’t forget how lucky we are to live in such a stunning country, filled with so many outdoor opportunities.
MSC hope that this summer might encourage some new thinking, and therefore new experiences in our stunning outdoors. Instead of your usual music festival, it might be a magic mountain escape. A BBQ at the in-laws might be some gourmet gas-top grub in a hut with your friends.
It’s a time like no other - it’s stressful, it’s doubtful and we hope nature can help ease some of the annual holiday stresses. Like all good planning, always have a backup plan.
Here’s some ideas to change your thinking (if you have your own, send them our way).
Have a bit of flexibility in your planning:
Investing in your travel plans for summer is hard at the moment, so why not shift your usual agenda.
- Consider camping as an option instead of booking accommodation – outdoor gear is better than it has ever been, with a solid tent and a good inflatable mattress you can make a home away from home in a few puffs.
- Book within your region – book the campsite you want to go to, but also have a few locations up your sleeve that don't require bookings so you can be more flexible.
- Break up your big holiday into mini breaks – instead of a massive adventure, try make mini holidays that require less travel and pressure to get there at a set time. Who knows you might discover something different out there.
Go somewhere new
Aotearoa’s outdoors has amazing experiences, from entertaining young families or finding your own solo escape. Perhaps think about places you have always wanted to go that actually might not be too far away.
- Enjoy a stress free ‘staycation’ - There are amazing places to experience outdoors that are close to access from most main cities. Our Plan My Walk app has some good inspiration, or visit a DOC Visitor Centre for tips to exploring your own backyard.
- Put your summer goals first – look for swimming spots, sights, picnic facilities, dog-friendly or amazing birdlife when doing your searches. There is plenty of inspiration on Instagram, and apps like CamperMate and our own Plan My Walk app has filters to find options that are the right fit for you.
- Keep it local – create your Aotearoa walking and tramping wishlist on Plan My Walk, but also think of day walks you can do close to home. The app has almost 1000 trips that take a day or less, so there will be several near you.
Try something new outdoors
Whether it’s 'plogging' (picking up rubbish while jogging), photography or summiting a new peak, why not turn your New Year’s resolution into an outdoor challenge. We’re supporting the Walk1200 challenge, walking 1200km in a year, that’s just one of the many options out there.
- Find an outdoor course and learn something new
- Learn about the Walk1200 challenge
- Join a local tramping club
Yes, please consider Covid-19 in your safety planning:
Whether you are going into remote backcountry, or sticking to a local track, please check the information for your region as part of your planning. You can get alerts in the Plan My Walk app. But also,
- Always pack a mask and hand sanitiser with you
- Scan in wherever possible
- Be courteous of others, particularly in huts/where you might interact with others
- Keep up to date on the new traffic light system
Make it risk free
Mostly, be kind to others and consider your safety this season. If you put yourself at risk, you also put search and rescue operators at risk. Take a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) and an emergency shelter, we just hope you don’t have to use it. A good plan and smart decisions in the bush help with this.
So start planning, even with an uncertain schedule ahead, you and the outdoors deserve some time together this summer.
- Plan My Walk app – you can use the Wishlist function or simply save plans as a draft, to start your thinking of where you want to go this summer.
- Gather your gear – if you’re not investing in flights overseas, why not sort out some new summer supplies for a glamping adventure!
- Talk to your loved ones – if you don’t get to see them soon, share your amazing adventure plans with them, not only as a safety procedure but also to tell them all about your experience when you make it home safe!
If you have plans lined up or a story to tell, please let us know – we would love to share with others to inspire and consider for their Kiwi Xmas, so get in touch: Rebekah.Wilson@mountainsafety.org.nz
PHOTOS: Header and Body - Caleb Smith/Pexels