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COVID-19 and the outdoors
What NZWAC is doing
Please note all Walking Access Commission staff are working from home during the COVID-19 outbreak and will be strictly adhering to the Government guidance and rules available at www.covid19.govt.nz. To talk with any of our staff during this time, please use email or phone. We do have capability to video-conference if needed.
Please visit the Unite Against COVID-19 website for up-to-date and accurate information on what we all need to do to stand strong together against this disease.
Advice on outdoor recreation during this time
We urge everyone to remain at home at all times where possible. Spend time in nature it will help keep you fit and relaxed. But, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, choose a quiet location close to home, keep a safe distance from others and follow all government guidance.
When you want some fresh air, you may go for a short walk or bike ride nearby, while ensuring that you maintain at least 2 metres distance from anyone else.
You should not stop to talk to people or arrange to meet people.
If you can’t maintain 2 metres distance you probably shouldn’t be doing that trail (even if it is open).
You should also avoid any activities with increased risk such as off-track tramping or hunting, so as not to risk adding to the overload of medical services.
Department of Conservation
DOC has closed all huts and campsites, and asks no one uses these until further notice.
DOC accommodation should not be used for self-isolation.
For everyone’s safety, at alert level 4 people should not head into the backcountry or remote areas, nor should they undertake outdoor activities (such as adventure sports or hunting) that would expose them to higher levels of risk.
Hut wardens will not be in place, communications may be limited, and we do not want to place unnecessary strain on health services.
New Zealand Search and Rescue (NZSAR) is asking people to stick to simple outdoor exercise and avoid areas where they could get lost or require search and rescue. NZSAR want to ensure that emergency services are available to help those in the greatest need.
Hunting permits and ballots
All hunters should stay at home while NZ is at COVID-19 Alert Level 4.
Hunting will expose hunters and others to higher levels of risk and put pressure on the emergency services if they need to respond.
To reduce the risk of people further spreading COVID-19, no hunting permits are being issued until further notice.
Hunting blocks assigned to hunters as part of the 2020 deer roar ballots are cancelled until further notice.
Can you go walking, tramping, trail running or hunting during COVID-19 Alert Level 4? - advice from the NZ Mountain Safety Council
Hunters should do the right thing, stay at home - media statement by the NZ Deerstalkers Association and the Game Animal Council
Trail walking during COVID-19 lockdown - advice from Te Araroa
We strongly recommend that if you need to spend some time in the outdoors, you choose a short walk or cycle close to your home. This means that many tracks, paths and walkways will not be suitable for use during the current period. Ensure that any outdoor exercise you choose to do allows you to keep a minimum of two metres apart from any other user at all times.
The following NZWAC Gazetted Walkways are explicitly closed due to COVID-19, however most of our Walkways are unsuitable for use at the current time:
- Annavale Track
- Barnicoat Walkway - open for walkers but closed for mountain bikers
- Belmont Walkway
- Cooks Cove Walkway
- Dry Acheron Track
- Hakarimata Walkway
- Honeycomb Rock Walkway
- Hurunui Walkway (Manuka Bay Track)
- Kaitaia Walkway (already closed due to kauri dieback)
- Point Elizabeth Walkway
- Rakaia Gorge Walkway
We hope you and your loved ones stay well during this difficult time. Kia tūpato!