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Your ‘Kiwi summer’ toolbox for a great holiday break

Are you going through your travel packing checklist? Here’s something you may like to add, alongside your jandals, toothbrush and a brand-new tube of sunscreen: a Kiwi Summer toolbox, packed full of helpful, interesting and plain-quirky links to make the most of the season. So let’s unwrap it… 

Heading to the beach?

Safety first is a great guiding principle, wherever you’re planning to go. If you’re heading to the beach, for example, you may want to use to view the weather forecast, patrol hours (if available), and hazards to watch out for. You can also check how suitable the beach is for families, swimming, surfing, and fishing. 

Planning to light a fire?

If you have a bonfire or charcoal BBQ planned, always ensure it’s safe to light a fire: Fire Emergency NZ has a handy three-step tool for this. Just select what you’ll be doing, when and where, and read the tips on how to reduce your risk. 

Going on a hike?

Wherever you choose to go, it’s a good idea to follow the five rules in the Land Safety Code: (1) Choose the right trip for you, (2) Understand the weather, (3) Pack warm clothes and extra food, (4) Share your plans, and (5) Take care of yourself and each other.

The NZ Mountain Safety Council (MSC) launched the Plan My Walk app in 2021, a must-have for anyone wanting to enjoy a safe outdoor adventure. You can find anything from weather forecasts through to track-specific alerts and interactive gear lists. And if you’re planning your trip with someone else, you can add them as ‘group members’. 

Another way to find hiking tracks is the AllTrails app: the free version allows you to read all about a track beforehand, so you can prepare yourself. 

For nature-lovers

Are you planning to spend some time in nature? If you’re into native plants and wildlife, there are some apps you can take with you. 

One of these is iNaturalist, a ‘social network’ where people from all over the world share bio-diversity information. If you come across a plant or animal you don’t recognise, iNaturalist can help you identify it: just snap a photo, load it and view the suggestions instantly. Or ask other ‘iNaturalists’ what they think.

For native birds only, you can try the search engine on New Zealand Birds Online or Bird Nerd NZ, a digital pocket guide that uses machine learning to identify birds from photos and even their birdsong.

Are you a happy camper?

There are many apps for campers in New Zealand, but Wikicamps is probably a good place to start: it’s quite comprehensive and you can download the maps to your phone before you go (no signal, no problem!). The Rankers’ Campaign NZ app and CamperMate are both great alternatives, with lots of information on individual campsites. And if you like to stay with locals, Campable is a bit like Airbnb – but for camping and motorhome sites.

Not quite sure where to go next?

Sometimes, you just need to see places through someone else’s eyes, to notice things for the first time. So, if you’re short on inspiration and not quite sure where to go or what to do next, has a list of 255 (yes, two-hundred-fifty-five) things to do around New Zealand. Some are very touristy, of course, but you may well find some unusual gems here and there. 

Keep sun safety top-of-mind

Whatever your summer plans are, don’t forget to slip, slop, slap and wrap. With the UVNZ app (available on Google Play and the App Store), you can easily check the current UV index and how long you can be exposed to sunlight, at any time of day, without skin damage. 

Make time for some R&R

You don’t have to always keep busy: summer is made for relaxing as well. A rainy-day, for example, can be an ideal opportunity to curl up on your sofa and watch a good movie: if you  don’t want to get stuck on Netflix’s homepage for hours, you can get suggestions from

Running out of books? Head on over to and find your next great read based on your needs. You can search books by mood and emotion, world map, and even character and plot. 

Have a nice break!

This list is no way near exhaustive of the endless adventures that summer may bring – but it’s a start. As for us, we wish a great holiday break and will be here for any questions you may have in 2023 and beyond. Happy holidays!

Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current developments or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.