3. Be Aware of Weather
New Zealand’s rugged landscape and highly changeable weather mean you can get into trouble very quickly.
Checking the weather forecast regularly is important, but you must also consider what effects the weather will have. It is HIGHLY recommended you re-check the weather forecast whenever you are able to. For the latest Weather Forecast log onto Metservice
We also recommend that you check the tides before you set off if you are doing any coastal routes.
The effect of the weather on Te Araroa – New Zealand’s Trail
Wind is far more dangerous than rain. People have been blown off cliffs, struck by flying objects and had their shelter damaged by the wind. It is usually the worst in exposed places, such as many of the trails in the South Island. If you are heading into exposed places when high winds have been forecast, we recommend altering your plans by taking an alternative route, or staying put for a few days.
The sun is a major factor in NZ, often taking first-time visitors by surprise. Although it may not always feel hot when you are up in the mountains, the sun in NZ is extremely harsh, causing dehydration, sunstroke and sunburn. Ensure you always wear sunscreen even on overcast days, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and cover your body.
Rain is likely to affect the level of rivers you may have to cross. Many rivers on Te Araroa do not have a bridge to walk across, so ensure you are prepared by learning how to cross safely.
Particularly on the South Island trails, snow can fall at any time of year. If there is any snow around, only proceed if you have experience with crampons and ice axes (and are carrying them with you) and be sure to check the Avalanche forecast before moving through any avalanche terrain.