Gillespies Beach
Image: Saskia Bloot | ©


There's no need to hibernate this winter – there are still lots of great options for outdoor respite and adventures.


As we make the most of precious daylight hours, let’s treasure our wildlife and special places, and keep ourselves safe.

On this page:

Winter nature watch

While you get into nature this winter, protect our precious wildlife and places.

Take a moment for nature this Conservation Week

What better way to herald the spring than to join DOC and groups across the country in celebrating Conservation Week/Te Wiki Tiaki Ao Tūroa 4–12 September.

Watch out for seal pups

From July to September each year an influx of adolescent seals appear on our shores and further inland. This is because young seals begin to wean as their mothers prepare for new pups.

Seals can appear vulnerable or in unusual places. This is a normal and, for the most part, they need rest not rescuing. What to do if you find a seal.

Trap predators in your backyard

As the days get colder many of us will notice that pests, such as rats or mice, are starting to venture indoors. Find out how to suppress predators in your back garden.

Walks, huts and campsites to enjoy

Get up close to the elements or remove yourself to warmer climes with these recommended places to stay and visit. Head for 'winterless’ Northland where winter temperatures average 15˚C, or, for a backdrop of snowy mountains and calmer winter weather, get over to the South Island’s stunning West Coast. There are also many sole occupancy lodges and cottages for groups and families to book.



East Coast



Hawkes Bay




West Coast




Enjoying nature from home

For those of us unable to get outdoors, here are some activities you can do at home to let nature in and strengthen your wellbeing: Let nature in.

Staying safe

In winter it gets colder in the hills and mountains and daylight hours hours are limited. Watch for snow and ice underfoot, and be extra vigilant in avalanche-prone areas or on trips that involve river crossings.

The five essential steps for staying safe:

  1. Choose the right trip for you – learn about the route and make sure you have the skills for it.
  2. Understand the weather – it can change fast. Check the forecast and change your plans if needed.
  3. Pack warm clothes and extra food. Prepare for bad weather and an unexpected night out.
  4. Share your plans and take ways to get help. Telling a trusted person your trip details and taking a distress beacon can save your life.
  5. Take care of yourself and each other. Eat, drink and rest with your group and make decisions together.

Visit the following pages to make the most of your time in nature and keep yourself safe. It’s also a good idea to contact or visit one of our visitor centres before you head out. 

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