Safety in the outdoors

New Zealand has fantastic outdoor recreation opportunities, but there are risks that need to be managed so you’ll have a great trip and make it home safely.

Before setting off on your adventure, get familiar with the Land Safety Code to help you stay safe when going out for a walk, hike or tramp. For water-based activities, check out the Water or Boating Safety Codes.

For land-based activities, the NZ Mountain Safety Council has information on skills and activities for planning and survival, as well as a free planning app, Plan My Walk, where you can leave your intentions. Alternatively, leave a date and time to raise the alarm if you haven't returned using the Outdoors Intentions form.

If something does go wrong, taking a distress beacon could save your life. While New Zealand’s mobile phone coverage network is good in urban areas, it’s unlikely you’ll have reliable coverage in the backcountry or in marine areas. If you’re unsure, opt to take a beacon. It’s important you know how to use it before you leave and register your beacon to help store your information for rescue services.

Distress beacons can be hired from many outdoor tramping or hunting stores, with more information available from the NZ Mountain Safety Council. If boating, take a marine VHF radio and check the advice form Coastguard.

Below is a small section of key resources and tools from the NZ Mountain Safety Council.

Outdoor recreation activity resources

Courtesy of Mountain Safety Council New Zealand

Tell someone your plans
Tell Someone Your Plans

What would happen if something went wrong such as an injury or you got lost? Learn how to ‘leave your intentions’ for your trip as well as what communication devices and techniques are best suited to New Zealand conditions.
Plan your trip
Plan my trip

MSC’s journey planner ‘Plan My Trip’ delivers MetService weather and DOC alerts as well as a packing list, and an ability to share your trip on Facebook and via email. Highly recommended tool for trip planning.

Alpine tramping series

Alpine tramping
Alpine tramping

Get outdoors: cross a river safely

Crossing rivers safely
Crossing rivers safely

Discover the outdoors eTools: a free online course

Check out the following eLearning tools in Discover the Outdoors; an online course.