Noteworthy tools for planning your next adventure
There's a certain satisfaction in pouring over a worn old paper map, imagining yourself exploring valleys and crossing rivers. However, you can get a whole lot more information from a few very useful online tools. We mentioned a few of these in an earlier piece about finding secluded camping spots. Regardless of how much planning you like to do before your trips, there's sure to be something useful in this list of our favourite resources.
NZ Topographical Maps
By far the most useful tool for any adventure would be New Zealand Topographical maps. This allows you to zoom in and scroll around to find your perfect route or camping spot in any remote corner of the country. A very useful feature is the sliding scale which allows you to adjust the transparency of a satellite map to give you a detailed indication of the density of bush or size of clearings.
Use topographical maps to find those remote hidden campsites.
DOC Hut and Campsite Map
Whether you’re heading into the mountains for a hike or driving to a campsite, the DOC hut map gives you more information than you could ever need. Besides allowing you to browse hundreds of public huts and campsites around New Zealand, the map also shows great walks, hikes and mountain bike trails. If you’re heading off tracks and making your own way, you can also add an overlay to see which areas in New Zealand are public conservation land (including national parks and hunting areas).
Fire Season Status Map
For us, having a fire at our camp adds a whole lot to the experience. However, this isn’t always an option, depending on the land you’re on and the fire conditions at the time. Check it’s Alright by Fire Emergency New Zealand is an online fire season status tool allowing you to check the conditions for the area you’re intending to go.
Get current updates on the roads you plan to take with the NZTA Journey Planner
NZTA Journey Planner
For adventures with a significant road trip component, you’re going to want to avoid road closures and major detours, particularly if you’re heading off the main roads. A lot of people aren’t aware of the Journey Planner that has been created by NZTA. Intended as a resource to find the best route from A to B, the really handy part about it is the almost live updates of closed roads and detours. It only takes a couple of seconds to check if there are any issues on your route and can save you hours of time that could be spent around the campfire instead.
New Zealand Weather Radar
It might seem pretty obvious to check the weather before you’re heading out, but using a rain radar instead of a regional forecast can give you an even better understanding of what to expect and might even provide a little more accuracy for the area you’re heading to.
Adventure Smart Outdoor Intentions Tool
If you’re heading to the more remote spots, it’s always reassuring to know that if something unfortunate happens, people will be able to find you quickly. The New Zealand Search and Rescue Council have created Adventure Smart which is an Outdoor Intentions Tool so that you can give a trusted contact all the information they would need to know in case something happens.
Now, we're not saying you should abandon your old maps. When it comes to being out in the field they will be the saving grace, but it doesn't hurt to do a little preparation before you head out.