Going for a short walk is a great way to exercise, explore nature, and spend some time with your family/friends.
Did you know?
- New Zealand’s longest trail (Te Araroa) is over 3000 km long, winding all the way from Cape Reinga down to Stirling Point, Bluff.
- Toyota Kiwi Guardians has over 100 sites spread all over the country, meaning plenty of great expedition options to choose from.
- The average 10-year-old needs at least two litres of water a day to stay hydrated.
Outdoor Safety Code
Ensure you have a great time on your expedition by planning ahead of time and following the five simple rules of the Outdoor Safety Code to help you stay safe.
Plan your trip
Make sure you know where you’re going and have a map of the track – consider taking a photo of it. Ensure you have enough time to complete in daylight. A wrong turn can create an unexpected night out. If you’re looking for inspiration on where to go, check out our short walks list.
Tell someone your plans
Message someone – text, social media, email – where you’re going and when you’ll be due back. Make yourself easier to be found if something goes wrong.
Be aware of the weather
New Zealand’s weather can be highly changeable. Check the forecast and expect changes throughout the day. Always prepare for wind and rain as it can, and often does, happen suddenly.
Know your limits
Challenge yourself within you and your family’s limit. Consider the ability of the youngest member to deal with the changing weather and the physical nature of the walk. Stick to the marked track.
Take sufficient supplies
What supplies you need for each walk will vary, but you should always have a waterproof jacket, water, food, hat, and sturdy walking shoes. Cellphone signal is often not available in the outdoors. Place items like phones and maps in a plastic bag to waterproof. Check the full gear list.
Make sure to check online for any unexpected issues in the area of your expedition on the day.
Minimising your impact
Plan to have as little impact as possible on the environment, other people and heritage relics when enjoying activities.
There is a lot you can do to make a difference. Read our care codes to find out more.
The seven principles of Leave No Trace:
1. Plan ahead and prepare
Plan ahead by considering your goals and those of your group. Know before you go – get local information, skills and gear you need to make your trip a success.
2. Travel and camp on durable ground
Some areas are more fragile than others. Choose to camp and travel on the most durable surface you can, the best ones are tracks, gravel, snow and most grasses. Impacts on fragile natural features caused by travel and camping can take many years to heal.
3. Dispose of waste properly
Pack it in, pack it out. As users of the outdoors we all have a responsibility to clean up after ourselves. Rubbish and toilet waste are unsightly and can introduce unwanted organisms into the environment. Lead by example – if you see rubbish, pick it up.
4. Leave what you find
People visit natural areas for many reasons; such as exploring nature's mysteries and surprises. When we leave natural objects and artifacts as we found them, we pass the gift of discovery on to those who follow. Many sites of spiritual and cultural significance to Māori are interwoven with the natural environment.
5. Minimise the effects of fire
Local regulations and conditions change depending on time of year and location. Lightweight stoves, fire pans and mounds mean campfires are no longer essential for cooking or comfort. Wildfires are often caused by carelessness and the natural appearance of many recreation sites has been damaged by campfires, visual scarring and stripping vegetation for firewood. Where fires are permitted, keep them small and make sure it's out by dousing with water and checking the ashes.
6. Respect wildlife and farm animals
Know when animals are particularly vulnerable, such as breeding times, and change your behaviour with them by observing from a distance. Avoid feeding animals either deliberately or accidentally by leaving food or rubbish lying around. Farming is a big part of New Zealand’s culture and economy, know how to move through farms without disturbing farm animals.
7. Be considerate of others
We all go into the outdoors for different reasons, so we must share. Think about others, respect their activities and what they might be trying to get out of their recreational experience.
Claim your Kiwi Guardians medal
Come back online and tell us about your expedition, how your preparation went, and what you would do differently next time.
Then sit back and wait for the postie to deliver your Expedition Leader action medal!
Each Kiwi Guardians action has a different medal – see how many you can collect to prove that you are making a positive difference to the environment and learning on the way.
Don’t forget to take photos while you are in action. Share the photos using #KiwiGuardians and #Lovemybackyard so we can see what you’ve done.