Walking on Crown-owned land

Conservation land administered by the Department of Conservation (DOC) is usually open to walking access but there are some exceptions to this. For example, where an area is managed to preserve the indigenous plants and animals in it or for scientific and other similar purposes. Other forms of access to conservation land may be restricted. DOC conservancy and area offices provide advice on specific instances. Hunting on Crown land requires a permit from DOC.

Crown land not administered by DOC may be open to public access at the discretion of the Crown. Access is often allowed by implied permission, but this depends on the use of the land and any other statutory restrictions. For example, Ministry of Defence and Department of Corrections land has special provisions and public access is strictly restricted for obvious reasons.

Land that is subject to Crown pastoral lease (a large amount of the South Island high country) is in the exclusive possession of the leaseholders and is essentially the same as private land from an access perspective. Traditionally the owners or lessees of large rural holdings with recreational value have permitted public recreational access across their land.