Help us protect the subantarctic islands. Follow these guidelines to minimise the impact of your visit on this outstanding environment.

By following these guidelines and the guidelines of the expedition leader and DOC representative, you will be contributing to the conservation of these unique areas.

It is both a privilege and a responsibility to visit the subantarctic islands. A single seed or insect could lead to the establishment of a new pest species that can alter the islands forever.

Download the guidelines in your language:

Tread lightly 'take only photos, leave only footprints' 

  • Plants, animals, historic or natural features should not be disturbed or removed.
  • No plants, animals or firearms are to be brought onto the islands.
  • Collecting of natural or cultural specimens or souvenirs is prohibited.
  • Poultry products are not allowed on the islands.
  • Rubbish, including biodegradable waste, must be removed from the islands.
  • Visitors must keep to formed tracks and boardwalks.
  • Toilets are not provided at any visitor site.
  • Smoking is not allowed. All of the islands are smokefree.
  • All visits may be accompanied by a government representative

Show respect to our wildlife

The islands have many unique, rare and  internationally significant populations of many species.

  • Give all wildlife the right of way.
  • Get no closer than 5 m to all wildlife. This may be too close at times foe some species, eg penguins, fur seals.
  • Do not encircle any wildlife. Always give them room to move.
  • Keep noise to a minimum.
  • Do not follow if wildlife retreats.
  • Look for and respond to signs of wildlife in distress. Move away promptly.
  • Promptly follow any instructions given by the guide or government representative.

Turn down the lights

Any lights on board ship at night, (including cabin lights) can attract seabirds, which crash into vessels – often with fatal consequences. Only the minimum lighting required for navigation and safety should be used. Keep your cabin curtains closed at night to minimise this happening.

DOC representative

A DOC representative may be on board to share their knowledge and enhance your trip. They will also assist the expedition leader to ensure all permit requirements are undertaken.

Personal responsibility

Take the quarantine risks your visit poses seriously. Check your equipment against this personal checklist.

  • All clothing, equipment and accessories thoroughly cleaned prior to trip.
  • Daypack checked immediately prior to landing for rodents, invertebrates and seeds.
  • Checked pockets and velcro, looking for and removing any stray seeds and dirt.
  • Footwear scrubbed with biocide, before and after every landing.
  • Only appropriate food products, no poultry products.

Contact the DOC representative if you have any questions or concerns.

Travel requirements video

Advocating for conservation

DOC has a statutory role to protect mammals and seabirds and to advocate for marine ecosystems. Achieving these goals is often reliant on the voluntary action and goodwill of those seeking to view these species. Our guidelines are outlined below, we appreciate your cooperation.


The practice of chumming (attracting seabirds by feeding them) is an illegal activity in any marine reserve. Marine reserves surround all islands excluding the Snares /Tini heke islands. It is discouraged elsewhere because of the created change to the natural habits of the birds and the possibility this increases the risk of seabird bycatch in fisheries. Chumming also provides a potential vector for the spread of disease.


The use of helicopters in the New Zealand subantarctic poses an inherent risk to wildlife through bird strike and disturbance. Only consider using them in the case of an emergency or when there are management benefits.

Night lights

Night lights pose a threat to seabirds, inducing disorientation and increasing the chances of a fatal collision. Only the minimum required for navigation and safety should be used.

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