Te Araroa News

Te Araroa statement on trail walking during COVID-19 alert level 3 - 24 March 2020

 This follows the Government’s announcement that New Zealand’s COVID-19 alert level has moved to Level 3 (Restrict) and will move to Level 4 tomorrow.

While day walks of individual tracks that make up Te Araroa trail are still possible, overnight, multi-day and section or through-walks on the trail should be avoided.
Te Araroa Chief executive Mark Weatherall said the latest recommendation was made to protect the wellbeing of walkers and the community, and to ensure a high-quality experience for people enjoying the trail. 
“At present New Zealanders are required to isolate and critical trail infrastructure – including accommodation – will not be readily available to walkers.”
Importantly, walkers should be aware that staying in any huts and campsites operated by New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) for any reason other than an emergency will now be prohibited (they will remain unlocked, for emergency use only).
DOC visitor centres have been temporarily shut and many private accommodation providers and transport operators are temporarily closed.
Mr Weatherall urged any international walkers who were still on the trail to seek flights home.
“While our vision has always been for the trail to be an unmissable experience for international walkers and New Zealanders alike, now is sadly not the time for overseas walkers to enjoy it.
“We urge any international walkers who are still on the trail to make plans as soon as possible to return home before international flight are no longer available. Delaying this decision further may result in significant disruption and expense, and that is something none of our fantastic walking community deserves.”
For New Zealanders, day walks on sections of Te Araroa trail remain a viable option, so long as walkers observe the recommended hygiene practices and avoid close contact with others. 
“Spending time in nature is great for our mental and physical wellbeing. The Government’s advice is that day walks with those you are currently isolating with are still possible, so long as people observe physical distancing from other walkers, travel to tracks in their own private vehicle, and observe the recommended hygiene practices.”
Advice for day walks during COVID-19: 
Do not walk if you are feeling unwell.
 
Travel to track access points using private transport. Do return walks on the same section of track, or loop walks so that use of shuttles is not necessary.
 
Walk only with those you are currently self-isolating with.
 
Practice physical distancing (2m apart at all times) and avoid congregating at scenic spots 
 
Avoid stopping and engaging in long conversation with other walkers.
 
Wash hands or use sanitiser frequently, especially when using toilets and other facilities
 
Avoid touching signs, and other hard surfaces that may harbour the virus
 
Take your own food from home.
 
Be considerate to other walkers (step aside to let others past)
 
Enjoy day walks only in your local area – avoid travelling to other regions