Labour Weekend marks the start of the summer tramping season in New Zealand. The NZ Mountain Safety Council (MSC) offers important safety advice for those heading outdoors.
Due to Aotearoa’s unpredictable spring weather, MSC Chief Executive Mike Daisley stresses the importance of thorough planning. Trampers should choose suitable tracks, monitor the weather forecast, wear warm and waterproof clothing, carry extra food, and inform someone of their plans.
Daisley advises that even for short trips, essential items include warm clothing, a rain jacket, head torch, hat, gloves, and an emergency communication device. He also suggests checking and preparing equipment that’s been stored away for summer use.
After a long winter, refreshing knowledge on basic navigation, gear usage, and river crossing techniques is beneficial.
While spring sees an increase in outdoor activities like mountain biking and trail running, Daisley warns that avalanches are still a risk, especially in places like the Southern Alps, Taranaki Maunga, and Tongariro National Park.
For safe travel in avalanche-prone areas, trampers need the right skills, equipment, and forecast information. Starting outdoor trips early in the day is also advised to avoid rushing and potential accidents.
The Plan My Walk app can assist both experienced and beginner trampers in choosing tracks, receiving alerts, and sharing gear lists with groups and emergency contacts.