Archives For Summer

The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is a biodiversity hotspot that is home to some of our rarest native species. Here are 8 species to look out for if you are visiting the Auckland region this summer.

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In the lead up to Christmas, DOC is supporting the Mental Health Foundation with the ‘Summer Photo Challenge’ through the Healthy Nature, Healthy People initiative.

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Sian Moffitt shares her experiences working in the best job ever—as a Tongariro Summer Ranger.

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DOC’s summer interns recently embarked on a two-day adventure to learn about the conservation efforts on Matiu/Somes Island.

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Nina Mercer and her family spent the summer holidays visiting two very different campsites, Mangawhero campsite on the southern side of Mount Ruapehu and Anaura Bay campsite on the East Coast.

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By Alastair Meehan, Department of Conservation Intern

Between Christmas and the New Year two friends and I decided to give the Tararua Southern Crossing a crack. 23 years living in Wellington is too long, we decided, to have never done perhaps the most iconic tramp on our doorstep.

Crossing a bridge on the Tararua Southern Crossing.

The most iconic tramp on Wellington’s doorstep

Despite battling through Boxing Day traffic, thunderstorms, blisters, cramp and the long trudge down the Marchant Ridge, it was a fantastic, albeit tiring trip.

The crossing of the alpine tops section from Table Top to Mount Alpha had amazing views to the south of Wellington Harbour, the Marlborough Sounds and the Kaikoura Mountains.

Mount Hector wooden cross.

A large wooden cross erected as a memorial to trampers who lost their lives in World War II

It’s easy to forget the joys associated with the backcountry as the trips become increasingly sporadic, and this was a great reminder of just how enjoyable a few days away can be.

By Marysia Mcsperrin, DOC Communications Advisor

Marysia Mcsperrin at Punakaiki.

Marysia Mcsperrin

Having moved over from London in April last year, the Christmas break featured a lot of firsts for me. It was my first Christmas away from home, friends and family, the first warm(ish) one in the southern hemisphere and the first one where, instead of a roast dinner with all the trimmings for Christmas lunch, we ate sandwiches in the car!

Me and my partner decided to spend the break taking a road trip around the South Island, down the West Coast and back up the east. We didn’t do any real tramping or camping though, just a lot of stop-offs at stunning locations.

The gorgeous blue water of the Hokitika Gorge.

Hokitika Gorge

We saw some amazing sights and had a chance to really appreciate the diversity and beauty of New Zealand’s natural landscapes. It was hard to choose my highlights but a few places stuck out for me.


Christmas Day stop-off and people were building stone Christmas trees

Firstly, Hokitika Gorge, which is about 30 km inland from Hokitika. We would’ve missed this if our helpful hostel owner hadn’t insisted we go and I’m so glad we did. It featured the most unreal turquoise-coloured water I’ve ever seen.

The alpine blue waters of Lake Pukaki.

Lake Pukaki

Another place that took my breath away was Lake Pukaki, on the drive between Queenstown and Christchurch. Again, we weren’t intending to stop here but the amazing alpine blue water was quite mesmerizing, and we had to take a closer look.

Two Hector's dolphins near Kaikoura.

Hector’s dolphins

We finished our trip whale watching in Kaikoura, which was an incredible experience – spotting two sperm whales and pods of hector’s and dusky dolphins. It was an amazing way to spend my first Christmas break in the southern hemisphere.

The tale of a sperm whale near Kaikoura.

Sperm whale