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Overnight tramping permitted, but huts may not be open

At Alert Level 2, overnight trips are possible, but DOC is still unsure if it will open its facilities. Photo: Anthony Behrens
Guidelines for overnight tramping have been released, but there’s still no clarity around whether huts will be open under Alert Level 2.

Kiwi trampers eagerly anticipating the potential shift to Alert Level 2 next week and the freedoms that come with it – but what does it mean for getting outside?

According to the Mountain Safety Council, the principle of tramping at Level 2 is ‘play it safe’.

While DOC huts remain closed, overnight tramping is permitted under Level 2 guidelines, though trips should be within your ability and to places you’ve been before.

MSC recommends staying on clearly marked tracks, maintaining a 2m physical distance between trampers where possible, regularly washing hands and practising care and hygiene around common touchpoints such as stair rails and gates.

Those with flu-like symptoms should avoid tramping.

As for tramping huts, DOC hasn’t yet provided clarity on how trampers can use department facilities – though further information is expected next week.

“We’re still working through the details on how people could use DOC facilities in a way that’s in line with Ministry of Health guidelines, and we will share these details as they become available,” DOC said on the website.

“As we move into the winter season people must plan and prepare. Check the conditions, make sure you have the right gear and tell someone where you’re going.”

Hunting is also permitted on the conservation estate under Alert Level 2.

“The fact that public conservation land is open again is great news,” New Zealand Deerstalkers Association president Trevor Chappell said. “Most Kiwi hunters don’t have access to hunting on private land so have had to bide their time during the peak of the hunting year.”

\FMC president Jan Finlayson said the organisation will follow the government’s lead on outdoor recreation, and won’t “add to the noise”.

The Government is expected to announce when New Zealand will move to Alert Level 2 on Monday.