Department of Conservation
The best resource available to travellers or adventurers for the wild side of New Zealand is the Department of Conservation.The Department of Conservation or commonly known as DOC is the government body which looks after our national parks and government owned land.
A lot of the work that DOC carries out is in conjunction with the public who have an interest in keeping NZ beautiful and available to locals and tourists. It is a fantastic organisation whose resources are available to almost anyone. DOC is also involved in protecting the wildlife and fauna, re-establishing natural areas, and pest control. A lot of the services are free, with small charges for covering the use of facilities at a DOC campground or hut.
“This Department of Conservation (DOC) site has information about the protection of New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage, how and where you can enjoy public conservation places and how to get involved in conservation”
Have a good look around the DOC site. This will give you a good idea of the resources available be it maps, publications, tracks and accommodation. It has a lot of information on wildlife if you are keen to see penguins just put penguins in the search box and you will find all the information you need on them. You can also book places on tracks or sites in campgrounds as during the summer season these can book out quickly.
The nine great walks of New Zealand are extremely popular and do require booking to ensure you can traverse these while you are here. You can book the huts and guide yourself or book through a local tour operator where they will take care of all the details such as taking your pack from one hut to the next and also provide meals. This allows you to have an outdoor experience without the awkwardness of carrying gear and planning meals.
I just love the Wilderness Magazine which is also available digitally. It covers all things wilderness, tramping, cycling, camping, safety, equipment….. and much more that a novice like me has no idea about. Before even deciding where to travel to I suggest that subscribing to this publication is a great idea. It is full of factual information and tips, and places that even we kiwis have no idea exist. It is an inspiring read which will open your mind to possibilities and destinations never thought of, and create a burgeoning desire to get out amongst it.
This page on books gives you access to books on a specific area, which you may already be visiting.
202 Great Walks
For the tramper or casual walker- try 202 great walks – The best day walks in New Zealand : by Mark Pickering. This is a great book with tracks covered throughout New Zealand. Wherever you are in the country there are walking tracks and this book has loads. The information on the walks includes
- Track – description of the track whether its farmland, bush, steep, muddy etc. Months that it may be closed.
- Walk Time and Distance – eg 2-3 hours 8km one way
- One hour walk – this will be noted if there is a portion or loop of the track can be completed in one hour
- Access and Facilities – Directions for access to the track and what facilities eg toilets, picnic area. This also includes whether it can be cycled, ok for a baby buggy
- Information – If there is a publication or pamphlet available from DOC (Department of Conservation) or some other entity such as the New Zealand Walkway Commission
Mark also writes around half a page on a description and history of the track. He has a great way of explaining the track, topography and what’s unique, like the views. He has a wonderful way of putting the reader at ease and explains in good old terminology what to expect, just like he walked it last week.
“The drive is along a magnificent coastal road, that clings to the soft, cliffy shoreline, and the steep dry hills of the Haurangi Range that plunge down to a shoreline where seals doze. Ngawi is a long row of beached fishing boats, and Kupe’s sail is a naked rock slab. This coast has a raw edge to it, unfinished, untamed.”
New Zealand Rent a Car has 20 branches throughout New Zealand owned by local’s who can also contribute to your enjoyment of this great land. We have rental vehicles that will take you anywhere you need to go, whether its to Cape Reinga or the start of the Routeburn Track.