Your safety is our top concern
New Zealand wilderness has natural hazards. As well as employing experienced guides, we follow strict safety procedures recommended by New Zealand's Mountain Safety Council in order to protect you.
Our concern for your safety starts well before your trip. All our trips are safety audited, with the biggest risks that are most likely to cause serious casualties simply eliminated. For example, our trips are not run in areas that are susceptible to snow avalanche or major rock fall. Our trips do not require us to cross large rivers that can rise suddenly to dangerous levels (this is a common cause of New Zealand's rare but tragic outdoor deaths). Our trips do not require you to climb up mountain sides where one misplaced foot hold would mean a significant fall.
However, there are many risks that cannot be eliminated, but which can be mitigated. For example, whether you are on a Bushbash trip, or walking down your local high street, it is possible to twist or break an ankle. (Our founder Mary Williams likes to emphasise that she once had her leg in plaster for ten weeks after slipping in her back garden.) Our guides are trained in mountain first aid and carry comprehensive first aid and survival equipment. But it doesn't stop there. We also carry a satellite-operated emergency rescue beacon and mountain radio, so in a worst-case scenario you can be airlifted by helicopter from anywhere in the National Park, at any time. Our rescue equipment automatically pinpoints our location for the emergency services with incredible accuracy. Thanks to this wonderful modern equipment you are arguably safer with us in the wilderness of New Zealand than in many other, more accessible, national parks in the world.
We won't get you lost either. Perhaps obvious, but sometimes it's worth stating the obvious. Our guides know the areas they are travelling in, and can navigate by compass as well as use modern GPS equipment.
The weather is the most serious safety variable that we have to consider daily. Our eyes are glued to the skies and local weather charts. Rain or shine, however, your trip will nearly always go ahead. However, if mountain tops are covered in cloud on the day of your trip, and your trip is scheduled to take you on to alpine ridges, we may decide to take you on a lower route, for your own safety. To protect yourself against hypothermia, you need to be prepared with wet weather gear and warm clothing. For our multi-day trips in particular, you will need the clothing on our kit list; if you are missing something, we can rent it to you.
Look on the bright side
Most likely, the worst we'll experience as a group is sore legs and blisters, but while not life-threatening, these things can be painful. Prevent them yourself by being generally fit and wearing good boots.