New Zealand is at COVID-19 Alert Level 2. You can get back out and enjoy the great outdoors and stay in huts and campsites, provided you keep yourself and others safe.

Date:  14 May 2020

Visitor facilities are open

Our huts, campgrounds and toilets are open with special guidelines for use. Check web pages for tracks, huts and campsites you plan to visit to find out safety information and alerts. 

Our visitor centres are also reopening. Check for individual opening dates

How to keep yourself and others safe

It’s important you take responsibility for your own COVID-19 hygiene and cleaning requirements:

  • be prepared to undertake additional cleaning when using huts, toilets, and campsites
  • carry your own cleaning and protective equipment to safely use shared facilities (including toilets)
  • leave facilities clean and fit for use by others.

This is even more important over winter when our standard cleaning and maintenance work is carried out less frequently than at peak times of the year. We will carry out standard cleaning and maintenance work for the winter season.

If you are planning on using DOC accommodation:

  • stay home if you are unwell
  • enable contact tracing - tell someone before you go, and use the hut books
  • practise physical distancing - 2 metres for people you do not know.

Bookable huts are capped at 10 people and there should be no more than 10 people at any of the larger non-bookable huts. At all huts appropriate physical distancing is required – bring a tent.

DOC huts and campsites cannot be used by people who are required to self-isolate.

Hut and campsite bookings

Bookings for the rest of this season (up to 30 June 2020) have reopened for huts, campsites and lodges. This includes DOC accommodation on Great Walks that operate year-round.

DOC is currently on track to open bookings for the 2020/21 season (1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021) in June, including for Great Walks. We’ll provide an update on this closer to the time, including plans for reopening Milford and Routeburn tracks.

Plan and prepare

As we move into the winter season it’s even more important to plan and prepare. Check the weather and track condition before you go and make sure you take the necessary food, water, clothing and equipment.

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

Ourr staff are also available to help with visitor queries and bookings. 

Work with wildlife and predator control

DOC’s biodiversity and predator control work in the field can resume provided it can be carried out safely to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

DOC’s emergency hotline will be operating as normal and responses to incidents of injured wildlife and marine mammals including whale and dolphin stranding will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Anyone finding sick or injured wildlife should contact the emergency hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) or their local wildlife rehabilitation centre. Injured wildlife can be transported for rehabilitation provided this follows public health guidelines. Call ahead if taking injured wildlife for treatment.

DOC’s Tiakina Ngā Manu predator control programme, including aerial 1080 operations, trapping and other ground-based control work, will resume provided it can be carried out safely to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

Predator control operations put on hold over the lockdown period may now go ahead when weather allows, providing relief for vulnerable native species in these areas.

DOC staff have been busy during the lockdown continuing to plan for the 2020/2021 predator programme, including consultation with Treaty partners, stakeholders and local communities and this work will continue.

Hunting allowed on public conservation land

Hunting on public conservation land is allowed. Hunters need to have the appropriate hunting permit or hold the required concession and abide by Ministry of Health guidelines.

Recreational hunters can apply online for an open area hunting permit. Hunters should first check their existing permit as it may still be current.

COVID-19 and hunting has more information about how to get a hunting permit and hunting on public conservation land. 

Fish & Game NZ have announced the game bird season will open on Saturday 23 May. DOC district offices can issue small game and game bird hunting permits for duck hunting on public conservation land and waters.

DOC staff are focused on ensuring any hunting ballots or bookings planned for the next few months go ahead. Once this process is complete we will contact affected ballot holders regarding next year’s ballots and hunting blocks.

Concessionaires and community groups

Concessionaires and community groups are welcomed back to public conservation land provided they can operate safely and follow Ministry of Health guidelines.

Concessionaires and permit holders can resume activities if they have a WorkSafe plan in place.

We understand this is a difficult time for many businesses and have been carefully considering what support they might need.

COVID-19 has placed increased pressure on many New Zealand organisations. We are working on an all of government approach to debtors that is equitable while maintaining good financial practice.

More information on COVID-19

NZ Government COVID-19 website

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