Things you'd like to tell trampers from overseas
I'm following the forum for quite a while now. I'm about to set up a small business in Germany advising people on non-guided tramping in a few selected countries/regions including NZ. I'm trying to follow an integrated approach as much as possible so that my clients are fully prepared for what to expect when they go tramping. I'm interested to know from you: What are the most important things you would like to tell visitors from overseas who come to New Zealand for tramping? It can be in regard to safety, track etiquette and behaviour, experiences you have made or situations you have been in with international trampers or whatever you find important I should also let my clients know. I appreciate your feedback, thanks, Happy Easter Daniel PS: I know the articles about the basics, I am interested about your opinion.
Hi again. I think in part it comes down to how taxpayer is defined. Tourists pay GST on every purchase, which contributes to ACC (the general part). Nearly every time they pay to travel somewhere, they pay or subsidise vehicle levies which contribute to ACC (the vehicle part). Some tourists have work permits with temporary jobs and pay income tax, and businesses which sell them stuff then pay a higher amount of income tax than they otherwise would. On the flip-side, tourists don't derive many of the tax-funded benefits which residents get. So tourists don't obviously pay for ACC but I don't think it can be clearly said that they don't, either, or that ACC shouldn't be offered to non-residents during the time they're here simply because they're not here for long. For travel insurers, even if they cover rescues in some countries, they might argue that those places have lower risks for other stuff which they need to cover for visits to NZ (even if that's rubbish). Also most travel insurance companies would operate from outside NZ's jurisdiction. Unlike ACC their contract is with the individual being insured and not with the NZ government, and they're not tied by NZ's laws. If people's travel insurance could pay for rescues then great, but I'm not sure how short of fundamentally changing the no-charge-for-rescue thing (other argument from a million other threads blah blah). Maybe if there were some way to phrase the law to say "if someone has travel insurance which cover it then bill them". It'd need to be done with care, or would risk becoming a nice incentive for travel insurers to simply add a specific non-NZ clause, and for visitors to take it up so that they wouldn't need to deal with the hassle of paying a bill and then claiming it back. Insurance companies are great at not paying for anything when they think someone else might. Just random thoughts anyway, but I think that would be the problem to get around.
@geeves No offence, but I'd propose wariness about a downgrade-in-danger from someone who once stood up for denim as an outdoors fabric! There are some marked tracks in the central North Island that I wouldn't walk again if you paid me. No, I don't have an exceptional head for heights but these things in places were literally one slip (and it's a virtual law of physics that the footing on the most exposed sections always tends towards poor with weak hand holds) and buh bye. Point is there is nothing on the map or at roadends indicating the heightened danger of those particular tracks. The information is online but that only helps if the prospective walker has been cautioned to proper due diligence. The best way is to email the local tramping club asking about a proposed route's significant hazards.
When have I ever suggested a downgrade in danger beyond suggesting this problem probably isnt unique to NZ or suggested denim is ok for tramping beyond saying its common in America? If anything I have written has been interpreted that way then that was not what I meant. I like your idea re contacting the local tramping club but which one would you contact? A lot of areas have no close club and there are several parks where although there are tracks etc the trampers dont go often and a better way to find out would be deerstalkers. The Haurangis are like this.
Also, I can't speak for Tasmania but I know Victoria has signposted and marked tracks, within easy reach of Melbourne, which are washed out or dangerous with no obvious warnings besides using common sense about what what's visible in front. Even in somewhere like Ireland, a few of the major tourism sites have very little to warn of the 150m drop over a bluff if you venture too close. I'd agree that NZ has different weights of certain risks from many places (where doesn't?), and maybe there's a need to be better at communicating what they are, but is it really "more" dangerous? It's hard to really know without having data about accidents and deaths from other countries and from New Zealand, and I'm not even sure if anyone in New Zealand compiles this data in a way that's much use for comparison.
The place itself isn't inherently more dangerous than anywhere else, but what really is dangerous is the general belief in the benign nature of what this country offers. A modern, western country where everyone speaks English, most of the roads are excellent, and people are friendly. It lulls people into a false sense of security. The remoteness, the relative lack of people, the highly volatile weather patterns and unforgiving terrain, combined with a lack of appreciation for the ever-present potential dangers people face when away from civilisation here in NZ is what makes it dangerous. The same can be argued for anywhere else, really. In Oz, for instance, people dying of dehydration is not an uncommon occurrence. Me personally, when I travel, I tend to find out as much as I can about potential hazards, and act accordingly. People who come here, plan on going for a day walk, then go off trail because they see something interesting, get lost, and come into trouble with the weather/temp etc, well, I have little sympathy, and believe wholeheartedly they should be made to fork out for any search/rescue undertaken. Let's face it. Crap happens. It's happened to all of us here. But not usually because of sheer stupidity. It's the sheer stupidity bit that needs to be policed.
So the stupid should be punished for their innate condition? I'm not a big believer in 'stupidity' par se, tending more towards blaming ignorance. Which, of course, is what the guy who started this thread is attempting to alleviate prospective trampers of :)
It's true that any service or benefit which is universally available - will be misused or even abused at the margins. But using that as a reason to start imposing 'user pays' on everyone just digs another much deeper, darker sort of hole.
Sidna - This thread seems to have wandered a bit ------. Back to you wanting advice: Wasps. These are a real problem here in the top of the South Island during February, March and April, if the fine weather lasts until then. A friend who guides the Travers/Sabine says he gets his customers to wear full body covering clothes in the Sabine lower valley but even then they get stung! Always check with local DOC office as to condition of tracks which can change at any time. And then, most importantly, believe what they tell you! My partner works for DOC, giving advice at the front desk, and she says many people just do not believe her, or do not listen. They hear about a track and just assume they can do it and don't want to know when told it possibly is beyond their capabilities! Of course the DOC person may, or may not, assess the person's abilities correctly but at least they, or the person they go and ask 'out the back', is aware of local conditions.
So, phoning ahead to a local DOC office might save lots of trouble compared with spending lots of time and money to go somewhere only to be told that maybe it wasn't such a good idea, then trying to weigh all that effort already spent against a new appreciation of the risk.
Ive been in the Doc centre in Oakune at 2 in the afternoon when a couple with foreign accent were asking how to get to the roadend for Tama Lakes It was winter. They were told its too late to start now but they were insistent and eventually said they would do the trip the next day. They were then told how to get there and given a guide etc. Did they wait to the next day? Did they go that day and do half the trip in darkness? Did they have torches? I didnt here of any rescues
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