Introduction

To keep people safe and facilities open, we have introduced a COVID-19 vaccination policy. This applies to all DOC visitor accommodation and visitor centres.

Vaccine verification needed for DOC facilities

Eligible people aged 12 years three months and over must be fully vaccinated to enter a DOC visitor centre. Everyone can access these services by email or phone. Contact your local visitor centre.

Eligible people must also be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to use DOC visitor accommodation. This includes:

  • huts
  • campsites
  • lodges and other sole occupancy facilities
  • Great Walk huts and campsites
  • camping by huts
  • use of DOC hut or campsite facilities by day visitors except for toilets.

Be ready to provide vaccine verification, such as a digital or printed copy of My Vaccine Pass, when accessing these facilities.

Other DOC facilities including tracks, carparks and most toilets remain open for everyone.

Purpose of the vaccine policy

This policy is to ensure those using DOC visitor facilities don’t put themselves or others at unnecessary risk of infection or transmission from exposure to COVID-19.

The policy provides people with greater certainty when using our visitor accommodation. It enables the majority our facilities to remain open to the public.

Our visitor accommodation is often remote, off the grid and brings people together from all locations. Vaccination provides a higher level of protection against infection from COVID-19. It also significantly reduces the risk of transmission and people suffering serious illness.

Booking

When booking, you will be required to confirm you and all other eligible people in your group are fully vaccinated.

If you're planning a trip with children under 12 in your group, it’s a good idea to do some extra planning. Before heading out assess the risks particularly if staying in shared huts.

Suggested pre-trip checklist.

Visitor accommodation risk assessment

The vaccine policy is based on a risk assessment to determine the risk of infection and transmission of COVID-19 at DOC’s visitor accommodation. This was done to meet DOC’s obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. This Act requires DOC to:

  • take all reasonable, practicable steps to eliminate or otherwise minimise the risk of infection and transmission of COVID-19 to our workers; and
  • make sure that the health and safety of other people at DOC’s visitor accommodation is not put at risk.

The outcome of the risk assessment was high risks for hut users and moderate risks for visitors and staff at campgrounds.

DOC visitor accommodation risk assessment (PDF, 136K)

All public sector agencies are required to comply with public health and social measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We are following public health guidelines and have developed our policy to align with the Government’s COVID-19 Protection Framework (CPF).

DOC visitor accommodation is also covered under the CPF.

How DOC will enforce the policy

When booking people are required to declare that they, and all those eligible people aged 12 and over in the booking, are fully vaccinated.

At popular bookable facilities, hut and campsite rangers will undertake regular spot checks for vaccine verification.

In DOC visitor centres, rangers will also carry out spot checks for vaccine verification.

People should be ready to show verification if asked.

In more remote huts and smaller campsites that are not bookable, there will also be spot checks though less frequently. DOC has limited ability to monitor compliance and so cannot guarantee compliance at these quieter sites. People will need to make a judgment on whether they are comfortable with that. See our suggested pre-trip checklist below.

DOC will refer serious infringements such as threats to staff and visitor safety to the NZ Police. We will also monitor compliance levels to assess whether facilities need to be closed if significant health risks arise.

Be prepared for potential closures. Check this website or with a visitor centre before heading out.

If you don't have an exemption or proof of vaccination

If you do not have a valid exemption or proof of vaccination, you can still use most other DOC facilities including tracks, car parks and toilets. You can also access visitor centre services by phone or email.

However you cannot enter DOC visitor centres or use DOC visitor accommodation.

Booking cancellations

DOC will provide a full refund for COVID-19-related cancellations including if people are:

  • unwell
  • subject to travel restrictions
  • concerned about COVID-19 risks, or
  • are not able to meet the vaccination requirements.

Policy for DOC staff

Our COVID-19 staff vaccination policy requires all employees to be fully vaccinated by 1 February 2022.

COVID-19 staff vaccination policy.

Stay safe outdoors

DOC encourages people to get into nature providing they can do so safely. This means following DOC’s Tiaki care code, taking a high degree of personal responsibility and increased planning.

In addition to the vaccine policy, people using DOC facilities are required to:

  • follow Ministry of Health guidelines
  • sanitise or wash hands regularly
  • where practical, wear a mask and physically distance around others
  • stay at home if unwell.

Assess the risk with a pre-trip checklist

If you're considering staying in a DOC hut or campsite, do your own risk assessment for yourself and group. 

  • What traffic light is the region at – Red Orange or Green.
  • Will there be more vulnerable or unvaccinated people in your group. For example, children under 12.
  • What are the sleeping arrangements:
    • hut/campsite capacity, shared hut, sleeping platforms or individual bunks
    • is it possible to camp outside or near a hut so I can carry tents to use if needed.
  • Is the accommodation bookable – meaning a higher level of certainty around the vaccination status of others.
  • Will it be possible to sanitise hands, wear masks or keep 1 m distance from those not in my group. For example, in huts or when using shared facilities like toilet blocks and campsite shelters.
  • Is it likely to be a busy period such as a Saturday night, or holiday weekend.
Back to top