Date: 30 May 2013
Winter is one of the most beautiful times to experience Fiordland National Park, but Department of Conservation staff are reminding visitors they need to be prepared for winter conditions.
Fiordland's dramatic summer scenery is even more stunning in winter. Snow covered mountain ranges open up a winter wonderland for explorers and skiers. Settled winter weather provides clear and crisp days with fantastic views for the photographer, or those wanting to kayak local lakes or explore the coastline. There is plenty to do during winter, and it is worth the effort of getting out and about.
Mavora Lakes in winter
However, it is extremely important that visitors do their research and are well prepared before venturing into the wilderness. Already this season several rescues have been conducted in Fiordland to save parties suffering from hypothermia due to being ill prepared and poorly clothed for cold conditions. Winter conditions can leave little room for error, said DOC Fiordland's Visitor Information Manager Astrid Nunns, and it is important not to underestimate the winter environment.
"We recommend that people visiting Fiordland National Park call into the Fiordland Visitor Centre before leaving on their trip. They can then check the latest track and road conditions and receive local information which might affect their plans," said Ms Nunns. Shorter daylight hours, snow on tracks, avalanche danger, and low temperatures can make easy summer tracks quite a different journey this time of year, and require quite different skills. As with all summer trips, it is important to let someone know when you're leaving, where you are going, and when you expect to be back.
A significant Fiordland hazard that cannot be highlighted enough each winter is avalanche risk. This week's snow is a reminder that those venturing out into the hills need to be well informed, aware and skilled to deal with avalanches. With the right preparation, and taking the right precautions, winter can be the most rewarding time of year to visit Fiordland.
The Adventure Smart website has been set up to encourage and enable people to leave their intentions, which can then be quickly and easily followed up if you are overdue.
Go to the Adventure Smart website for more information, or to leave your intentions.
DOC Te Anau Visitor Information Manager
Phone: +64 3 249 0200