People visiting land managed by Department of Conservation (DOC) in the Gisborne, Opotiki and Whakatane region this summer should be well prepared for the outdoors.
This region has a range of recreational opportunities and ample camping areas to stay. We want visitors to enjoy their experience and return home safely, says Programme Manager, Visitor Assets John Ballantyne.
“Before you go into the outdoors get familiar with the Outdoor Safety Code. Follow five simple rules to help you stay safe - plan your trip, tell someone, be aware of the weather, know your limits and take sufficient supplies”, says Mr Ballantyne.
More information on the Outdoor Safety Code, other tips, links and advice for you to plan and prepare to ensure you enjoy the activity safely is available on www.adventuresmart.org.nz. This is also where you “tell someone” your intentions when heading outdoors on the new online intentions system.
Don’t forget to also be a careful camper and practice ‘no trace’ camping - follow the environmental care code and camping care code. Protect native plants and animals.
“While the recent rain has significantly reduced the fire danger, several days of sun and wind can rapidly send it soaring again” says Mr Ballantyne.
Fire permits are required for fires on or within 1km of all public conservation land in the East Coast and Bay of Plenty regions.
“We hope that visitors will observe a few basic rules for their own safety in the outdoors, protection of the environment and wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer”, says Mr Ballantyne.
Walkways - For families looking for activities popular East Coast walkways at Anaura Bay, Cooks Cove, Te Kuri and Otoko are open. Most walkways cross private land and access is only available due to the generosity of landowners. Visitors are asked to behave considerately and remember that dogs and mountain bikes are not permitted on walkways.
Hikurangi walkway will be open apart from a closed period from mid-day on Saturday, 31 December 2011 to mid-day Sunday 1 January 2012 for a planned cultural activity. Contact Te Runanga O Ngati Porou Tourism for further information.
Camping areas - Anaura Bay (85km north of Gisborne), Manganuku (in the Waioeka Gorge), Omahuru (Ogilvies) and Te Pakau (Eight Acre) 45 minutes from Whakatane and Opotiki, Matata (off SH 2 in Matata township – near Whakatane), Boulders at Te Waiti off Otara Road in Opotiki and Whitikau on Takaputahi Road off the historic Old Motu Road are all options worth considering.
Waioeka Journey - Drivers can take a break from driving through the Waioeka Gorge and view the Waioeka Journey Te Awa a Tamatea with information panels at seven rest areas.
Marine reserves - (Look but “no take”)Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve 16 kilometres north of Gisborne now includes a new carpark area providing improved public access. Te Paepae o Aotea (Volkner Rocks) Marine Reserve is located 55 kilometres north/north east of Whakatane and 5 kilometres north west of White Island. For many people the most convenient and ready access is by charter boat. Diving or sightseeing can be arranged through a number of operators. Fishermen are reminded to observe the boundaries of the marine reserve. Brochures containing full co-ordinates and maps can be obtained from Whakatane Coastguard, Whakatane Information Centre or downloaded from www.doc.govt.nz.
Otipi Road - is open for those looking for something different to do this summer. Weather dependent. The Otipi Road starts at the Whitikau campsite off Takaputahi Road and travels 20 kilometres into the Raukumara to the Motu river over an old road established for hydro exploration in the 1960s. The road provides unique recreational opportunities for visitors including hunting, camping and mountain biking in a scenic and challenging wilderness part of the country.
Pakihi Track – is closed for public safety as bridges are not complete and Code of Compliance under Building Act are yet to be issued.
Didymo - Be aware of the threat of didymo. People moving between waterways should always check, clean and dry all gear, clothing, boats and vehicles that could contaminate other streams, rivers or lakes. Didymo advocate, Toni Stirton will be in the East Coast over the summer months.