This April is the ultimate opportunity to snap up the extended work break and to spend more time exploring the outdoors, says the NZ Mountain Safety Council and the Department of Conservation.
Typically, New Zealanders treat the Easter long weekend as roughly the end of the summer tramping season and as one of their last chances to get out before the cold weather sets in.
With the upcoming holidays of Easter and ANZAC day, combined with school holidays, many will be making the most it.
This means having a plan, and a solid Plan B up your sleeve, is very important.
MSC data shows that historically, Easter weekend sees twice the number of tramping injuries and search and rescues compared to a regular weekend and it is the third busiest public holiday weekend for tramping injuries and SAR.
MSC Chief Executive Mike Daisley says the end of daylight savings is always an indication that shorter days and the change in season is upon us, and trampers need to be prepared for more wintry conditions and to ensure they aren’t caught out in the dark.
“Packing warm clothes, a rain jacket, head torch and spare clothing and appropriate emergency communication device are the absolute minimum regardless of the weather forecast and length of trip.
“It’s important to understand your capabilities and skills and make sure you have a ‘plan B’ decided if something, such as the weather, changes.”
Using the Plan My Walk app can help experienced and beginner trampers find the right track for their abilities, check for any track alerts issued by DOC and MetService weather warnings, and a suggested gear list which can be sent to group members and emergency contacts.
Department of Conservation Visitor Safety Manager Andy Roberts says New Zealand’s weather can change rapidly at any time of year, so it’s important to check the weather right up until you leave and be prepared for any changes.
“Once you’re out there, stick together, and if the weather turns bad or the going is too hard, be prepared to turn back. It’s up to you make sound judgements for your safety and the safety of those you are with,” Roberts says.
The DOC website has information on tracks and places to go, including what you need to know before you head out.