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COVID-19 and outdoor recreation
Recreation is important
Exercise and recreation is an important part of maintaining our health and wellbeing. However, there is still a risk of transmission of COVID-19 under all Alert Levels so we need to take particular care when in the outdoors.
If you are sick, or experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, please stay at home.
If you are at particular risk of COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions or age, you may wish to take extra precautions when considering outdoor recreation.
While QR codes are not mandatory for tracks and trails, landholders may wish to create QR codes for any high-traffic locations. If you do not already have a Business Industry Code, please use R892215 (Nature reserve and conservation park operation not elsewhere classified) when generating your QR code through the self-service webform.
What activities are available at different alert levels
At each alert level, guidance on what activities are available may change.
Sport New Zealand has produced detailed advice on what is available at Alert Levels 1, 2 and 3.
The Mountain Safety Council have created the COVID-19 Outdoors website which provides advice on what activities you can do, and how to keep safe while doing them. The Walking Access Commission is one of a number of organisations who have endorsed this resource.
Department of Conservation huts and campsites
All DOC facilities, including huts and campsites will be open for public use at Alert Levels 1 and 2, with some small differences to normal.
At Alert Level 2, to maintain the government's guidelines for gatherings, bookable accommodation is capped to 10 people and there should be no more than 10 people at any of the larger non-bookable huts. If you are planning to use a non-bookable hut, you should also take a tent in case there is not enough room.
Visitors will need to carry their own cleaning equipment in and out of the area they visit.
Visitors are also responsible for being able to trace their own contacts during their visit. This includes letting a trusted contact know your intentions and putting your details in hut intentions books.
Hunting is allowed on private land, and on public conservation land with an appropriate permit, at Alert Levels 1 and 2.
The game bird shooting season opened on Saturday 23 May.
Tramping including Te Araroa Trail
At Alert Level 2, multi-day tramps are possible again. Note that as we get closer to winter, the weather will be less suitable in much of the country, and tramping in snow is only recommended for people with appropriate equipment and experience.
Recreation Aotearoa have a hub for information about operating in a COVID-19 environment including news and advice, and webinars.
What NZWAC is doing
Please note all Walking Access Commission staff are strictly adhering to the Government guidance at all times. Our team may be working from the office or from home, depending on the alert level in their area. If meeting face-to-face is not an option, our team all have access to emails, phones and video-conferencing at any location.
Two of our staff worked in the National Crisis Management Centre, helping with the Government's response to COVID-19.
The Government's COVID-19 website is the source for up-to-date and accurate information on what we all need to do to stand strong together against this disease.
We hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and well during this difficult time. Kia tūpato!