Archives For recreation

Now that it’s the summer time and the weather is fine (mostly), you may find yourself wondering, ‘What shall I do today?’.

Well, wonder no longer; answer a few simple yes/no questions, follow the arrows, and the chart will tell you what you should be doing. When you’ve got your answer, read about the opportunities for that activity below!

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Great Walks

The Great Walks are DOC’s premier walking tracks—the best of the best. They take you through some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, and the huts and tracks are of a higher standard that other huts and tracks. There are nine Great Walks in total, all of different lengths and difficulty levels. Choose one that suits your style, or tick them off your list one by one. These are great to do in the summer months, with plenty of swimming opportunities to make the most of, and visitors from all around the world to get to know. Go with friends, family or as a couple, and relish the achievement of completing one of the most stunning walks in the world!

Tracks and walks

Trialling and trekking DOC tracks is an ideal activity for you this summer. Burn off the sneaky icecreams and second helpings of your aunty’s famous potato salad with a bit of up-hill huffing and puffing. There’s a heap of tracks (in whichever region you’re in) with various lengths and difficulty levels. If you’ve got two days or two hours, there’s something to fill in your time while keeping you fit and exposing you to some different areas. If you need to get away from the in-laws, walking a quick loop through native bush is a great way to regain your inner peace. Find a walking buddy, create your perfect scroggin recipe, and plan your tracks for this summer!

Adventure recreation

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie with four bungy jumps under your belt, or a self-confessed timid Tim, you’ve landed on ‘Adventure recreation’ for your perfect summer activity. Take a step to the left outside of your comfort zone and choose from the many outdoor activities available throughout the country. Adventure recreation is a great rush, and there are plenty of DOC approved concessionaires who will guide you throughout your experience if you’re after something tried and tested. There are also activities where no guide is needed (if you’ve got the skills and the resources) such as sand boarding in Northland, motor boating at Cable Bay, or abseiling in the Wairarapa. With the huge selection available, there’s bound to be something up your alley!


Exploring the world under the sea is the top pick for you this summer. Marine Reserves around the country are off the hook, bubbling with the activity of fascinating creatures who are safe from the hungry eyes of fishers. Try snorkelling or diving lessons if you’ve never been out before. In the words of Sebastian the crab, “Just look at the world around you, right here on the ocean floor. Such wonderful things surround you, what more is you lookin’ for?” Whether you’re going on holiday, or looking for something to do in the weekends, snorkelling is a fun (and educational) way to get active in the sea this summer. See some fun places to go snorkelling here.


Camping is your perfect summer activity—like many kiwis around the country, you’d enjoy setting up a base under the stars and spending time with good food, good weather and good company. DOC manages over 250 campsites in New Zealand (including on New Zealand’s islands) so there’s plenty of special spots to choose from—many at ridiculously cheap prices, if not free! They’re often located in areas that have heaps of conservation activities near by, so there’s lots to keep you entertained! Find out more at

Download a copy of this as a pdf here.

DOC Great Walks Logo.

by Siobhan File

In November I’m going down to Nelson for a week with work and thought that while I’m down there, I should attempt my first proper Great Walk at the end of the trip (with the Abel Tasman Coast Track). I say proper because I’ve done bits before, but I was helicoptered to those places and met my bag and a chilli bin of food at the huts, rather than having to carry it myself… don’t judge me.

So, I rallied a group of friends together last Saturday night while we were all out at dinner. Everyone was super keen, but over the week it’s dwindled from six of us, to four of us, to now just me and my boyfriend who’s going to meet me on the Friday.

Mosquito Bay, Abel Tasman National Park. Photo: Garry Holz

Mosquito Bay, Abel Tasman National Park

After stuffing up my hut bookings (which the visitor centre staff were very nice about), we’ve locked in Anchorage Hut for Friday night and Awaroa Hut for Saturday night. We’ll then catch an aqua taxi back from Totaranui on Sunday afternoon to fly back to Wellington.

A map of Abel Tasman National park and the walking route.

A map of where we’ll be walking

So that’s a big day of walking on the Saturday. I hope I don’t get blisters or a sore back from my pack.

Some other things I am currently worried about include:

  • What am I going to wear? The DOC website says wool or fleece clothing, but even in November? Isn’t Nelson the sunniest spot in New Zealand? I’m not sure what tramping attire really is.
  • Will my running shoes be ok? I don’t think I’ll be able to fit big fluffy socks into them…
  • The website also says ‘a portable stove will be needed’. I don’t have one of those either. I’ll have to look around for one.
  • Will my sleeping bag be warm enough (given it’s a child’s one I got from Santa when I was 11)?
  • Which aqua taxi will we get from Totaranui, and will it tee up with a shuttle back to the airport?

Some things I am really excited about include:

  • Being able to eat as much scroggin as I like—guilt free because it’s pretty much non-negotiable for tramping
  • Choosing my own mix of ingredients to make my perfect scroggin
  • Experiencing the spiritual feeling I’m told I’ll get while walking
  • Playing cards by candle light in the huts
An image of scroggin including sultanas and nuts.

Did you know that ‘Scroggin’ stands for: ‘Sultanas, Carob, Raisins, Orange peel, Grains, Glucose, Imagination, Nuts’. I’m gonna go crazy on the ‘imagination’, and will definitely be swapping the carob for chocolate.

So I’ve got a bit of organising to do around getting there and back, and sorting out my equipment. If anyone has any recommendations or advice about the Abel Tasman it would be greatly appreciated!