Introduction

Auckland, Northland and parts of the Waikato are at Alert Level 3. The rest of New Zealand is at Alert Level 2.

Date:  09 October 2021

DOC is working to support the NZ Government’s COVID-19 response, keep everyone safe and stop the spread.

We support the priority work to get New Zealand vaccinated. To avoid the need for future lockdowns, we need to increase our vaccination rates. Get your free COVID-19 vaccine

By getting vaccinated we can all all keep exploring our natural places.

Follow Ministry of Health COVID-19 guidelines:

  • stay home if you are sick
  • keep track of where you have been - scan QR codes and turn on Bluetooth tracing
  • wear a face covering
  • maintain good hygiene
  • get vaccinated
  • maintain physical distancing. 

Unite Against COVID-19 has details of sports and recreation at all Alert Levels.   

Auckland, Northland and parts of the Waikato are at Alert Level 3

Check Alert Level boundary map on Unite Against COVID-19 website

Auckland Level 3 step 1: Aucklanders can travel within the Auckland area for recreation but there are restrictions. Check guidance on COVID-19 website

DOC facilities: All huts, campsites, lodges and toilets remain closed. You cannot self-isolate at a hut, lodge or campsite.

Tramping: You can walk on easy trails close to where you live. You must:

  • keep your distance from other people
  • not expose yourself to activities which may require search and rescue services
  • avoid contact surfaces such as heavily used handrails. 

Hunting: You can hunt on both private and public conservation land. You should stay in areas readily accessible from your home, either on foot or by vehicle, and you must stick to your bubble. You should not go on an overnight hunting trip. You can only hunt on foot — using quad bikes, off-road bikes, helicopters and other motorised vehicles is not allowed.

If you are out hunting, you still need to follow the local regulations.

Fishing: You can fish from a wharf or the shore, but do not cast off the rocks or fish from a boat. Boating is not allowed. Keep it local — go to your nearest fishing spot, not your favourite fishing spot. 

Whitebaiting: You can fish for whitebait during the whitebaiting season. Fish locally, stay 2 metres from other river users and remember boating is not allowed. You must: 

  • only fish from the banks of rivers or the water’s edge
  • not enter the water
  • not use a boat to fish.

You legally must also comply with all current whitebait regulations. 

Bookings: All existing bookings for Alert Level 3 restrictions will be fully refunded. You will be contacted by email about how to receive your refund. Wait for these instructions to avoid cancellation fees.

Conservation volunteers: Volunteers are permitted to undertake low risk work such as checking traps, weeding, and planting on public conservation land, provided it’s close to home and can be done safely. You must seek approval from the local DOC office and show how the work will meet Alert Level 3 requirements.

DOC's work: Most DOC staff are working from home. Permission is given in some cases to carry out essential work to protect threatened species or manage public assets. 

The rest of New Zealand is at Alert Level 2

Alert Level 2 means there are or may be COVID-19 cases in the community, but the situation is largely under control.

DOC facilities are open, including huts, campsites and toilets – with special guidelines for use. Visitor centres are preparing to open. 

Some facilities may be closed so check before you go

Staying in huts

  • Try to keep 2 metres of separation.
  • Face coverings are strongly encouraged to be worn inside huts if 2 metre spacing is not possible and it's practical to do so.
  • Bring a tent, or consider cancelling your trip, if you are concerned about sharing hut facilities.
  • Take your own cleaning and hygiene products. 
  • Use QR codes where available to scan in or use intentions books at huts to enable contact tracing.

Bookings for huts and campsites are open but people who want to cancel under Alert Level 2 may do so with a full refund.

Practice physical distancing on tracks - 2 metres for people you do not know.

Hunting on public conservation land is allowed. 

Whitebaiting is allowed provided you maintain 2 metre physical distancing while complying with the fishing rules.

Concessionaires and community groups can operate on public conservation land provided they do so safely and follow Ministry of Health guidelines. 

Preparing for changes in Alert Levels

DOC has guidelines for each Alert Level in advance of changes.

Alert Level 4

Alert Level 4 means people should stay at home and only use their cars for essential trips.

DOC facilities: All huts, campsites, lodges and toilets are closed.

Activities: Do not do activities that may require search and rescue services including tramping, hunting and boating.

Fishing: You can fish from a wharf or the shore, but do not cast off the rocks or fish from a boat. Boating is not allowed. Keep it local – go to your nearest fishing spot, not your favourite fishing spot. 

Whitebaiting: You can fish for whitebait during the whitebaiting season. Fish locally, stay 2 metres from other river users and remember boating is not allowed. You must: 

  • only fish from the banks of rivers or the water’s edge
  • not enter the water
  • not use a boat to fish.

You legally must also comply with all current whitebait regulations. 

Bookings: All existing bookings for Alert Level 4 restrictions will be fully refunded. You will be contacted by email about how to receive your refund. Wait for these instructions to avoid cancellation fees.

Alert Level 1

Everyone can enjoy the great outdoors, provided it is done safely. DOC facilities are open, including visitor centres, huts, campsites, and toilets. 

However, remain vigilant and ready in case COVID-19 appears in our community.


More information

Check this website for more information including hunting permits, track updates, closures and safety advice.

To cancel or modify a booking, contact your local DOC visitor centre.

For other advice:

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