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Plan your trip

Planning is an opportunity to think through the trip in advance, so that you can identify any risks and devise ways to deal with them. It takes a little bit of work, but makes the on-trip leading so much easier.

There are several steps involved when planning a trip:

Six Wednesdays before your trip

4 Wednesdays (SI trips) or 3 Wednesdays before  your trip

2 Wednesdays (10 days) before your trip

In the last few days before your trip

Plan your route

If you are not sure where your trip is intended to go, you can:

  • ask the chief guide and assistant chief guide
  • talk to experienced club members (ask the chief guide if you’re not sure who to ask)
  • consult books and park maps
  • download maps from NZ Topo Map
  • talk to the DoC area office.

 Further things you need to work out are:

  • Whether you need permission to cross private land
    • Check with DoC who can tell you and who usually hold landowner phone numbers.
  • Escape routes in case the weather closes in
  • Potential hazards such as rivers and exposed tops
  • Where you will stay i.e. in huts or campsites.
    • Don’t always assume that just because a structure (eg bridge or hut) is on the map, it will be there
    • Check with DoC or people who’ve been there recently for the latest info.

And you must check

  • that your planned route fits the grade that has been advertised
    • Work out the likely daily times and the difficulty of the track/terrain, and let prospective punters know these details when you are asking them to confirm. This gives people a chance to opt out of a trip that’s too difficult for them, which is much better for you as a leader. You need to be sure that your punters’ expectations of the trip match your planned reality!

Promote your trip

1.     Check that your trip sheet is on the club notice board. Alert the chief guide or assistant chief guide if not.

2.     If you want to limit the group to a particular number, you can alter the trip sheet to do so.

3.     Promote your trip by giving a notice at club nights

4.     Remove your trip sheet from the clubroom wall

  • three Wednesdays before for a North Island trip, and
  • four Wednesdays before for a South Island trip.

 Attached to the trip sheet is:

  • the trip money form
  • leader information sheet and
  • some stickers for hut books.

Email your punters – initial email

Send an initial email to your punters as soon as you take the sign-up sheet down from the club room wall. In this email you should:

  1. ask people to confirm that they are coming
  2. tell them the cost of the trip and
  3. remind them that payment is due by the following Wednesday.

You could also tell your punters

  • details of the route/difficulty, so people can assess if it’s within their fitness/ability level

And ask them

  • for the name and number of their emergency contact
  • if they are vegetarian or have other dietary/special requirements?
  • if they have a cooker they can bring?
  • if they can drive the club van?

Find out about your punters and their experience level

If a punter is unknown to you:

  • feel free to ask them questions about their experience and gear
  • find out what trips they have done with the club, and ask the leaders of those trips whether the punter will be suited to your trip.

This is especially important if your trip is Medium or above. You can remind people that we strongly recommend their first trip with the club be an Easy or Easy Medium. This is definitely the case if people have not tramped in New Zealand outside of Great Walks.

If you remain uncertain about the fitness/ability of a punter

 If they don’t have and can’t get the right clothing/boots/gear, don’t take them.

Are there any club approved van drivers in the group?

Find out about your punters medical conditions

People should disclose to you any medical conditions they have. Treat this information with respect and keep it confidential.

If they have a condition they don’t want to tell you about, suggest that they put a note in an envelope that you can open only in the event of an emergency.

Collect payment

Ensure that everyone has paid before you give final trip numbers to the transport officer.  You need to do this

  • two Wednesdays before for a North Island trip
  • three Wednesdays before for a South Island trip.

If people pay …

you must …



email the trip money checker

ask them to confirm the money has been transferred

by cash

this to the person on duty in the gear room in an envelope with the trip money form

Remind punters that they are liable for the trip fare if they pull out after

  • two Wednesdays before for a North Island trip and
  • three Wednesdays before for a South Island trip.

The reason for these deadlines is that we make transport bookings/allocations based on these punter numbers.

People are less likely to pull out of a trip if they have paid. If people do pull out after the deadline and they haven’t paid, it’s your responsibility to chase them for the cash and this is a problem you don’t need.

Plan your transport

Email the club transport officer with your final numbers by the relevant deadline. He will let you know what kind of transport you will be using.

You might then need to liaise with the weekend’s other trip leaders to sort out drop offs and pick ups from different road ends (this is organised cooperatively by leaders, not by the transport officer).

Note that for safety reasons, the club rules require at least two authorised drivers available for trips from Wellington to any location north of the Manawatu Gorge, or with an anticipated journey time of more than 3 hours.

Lodge Trips

For Scheduled Club Trips based at the lodge, the chief guide will have made provisional reservations when the trip schedule was finalised. Trip costs are shown on your trip sheet or can be confirmed by the Assistant Chief Guide.

As soon as party numbers are confirmed (ie the payment deadline is reached) these numbers need to be confirmed with the Lodge Bookings Officer.  Provide the lodge bookings officer the names, email addresses, phone numbers and member/non-member status for each of your punters who have paid, as well as confirming your arrival and departure dates.

Any punter who signs up and pays after the payment deadline will need to book on a first come first served basis.

The lodge is strictly limited to 32 people. If you require additional accommodation, please contact the Bookings Officer to discuss your needs – there may be space in neighbouring lodges.

When you email your punters, please ask them to take a look at to understand what staying at the lodge is like.  Remind them to pack a pillowcase and be ready to help with cooking and cleaning.  

In winter your booking will include breakfast, lunch and dinner; in summer only tea and coffee are provided but the Lodge Bookings Officer can arrange catering for you if you prefer.

A few days before your trip, the Lodge Bookings Officer will provide you and your punters a bunk allocation list and the name of the Lodge Leader for the weekend.  You’ll likely be sharing the lodge with others who have booked in separately.

Plan the meal

Taking into account dietary constraings, ideas for communal meals for your tramp are in the WTMC recipe book (see the bottom of this web page).

Email your punters – trip plan email

About a week before the trip, email out your trip plan. It should cover:

  • route/terrain and estimated times (as per your initial email)
  • group gear allocation
  • food allocation
  • anything else particular about the trip, especially any particular risks such as lengthy periods of tops travel or significant rivers
  • plan Bs if your original intentions aren’t doable.

 The email should also tell punters

  • to bring water if none is available at the roadend,
  • about the dinner arrangements for Friday night (and Sunday if necessary) and
  • remind them to bring their groundsheet, thermarest and storm gear (including overtrousers for tops travel).

Print out a copy of your plan and meal recipes and bring it on the tramp, so you know who’s got what gear, and what dinner ingredients you’re supposed to be using!

 A detailed plan means everyone knows what to expect and feels comfortable about the weekend’s intentions.

Example of a trip plan email you can send out to everyone going on the trip.

Organise club gear

You will need to organise your party to collect the following items from the club rooms on the Wednesday prior to trip departure:

TentTents are available for alpine trips
  • large fly sleeps five to seven people – weighs about 2kg (excluding pegs and poles)
  • small fly (sleeps two or three people) weighs about 1kg (excluding pegs)
Pegs also need to be allocated for both flys, and large flies also need separate poles.
Billy / billycan

Weighs 900g

We recommend every group takes at least two.

Communal first aid kit

Weighs less than 900g

The communal emergency first aid kit is intended for emergencies and does not include basic items like sticking plasters and panadol (remind punters that they are expected to bring plasters and panadol for personal use)

When returning the kit, make the Gear Custodian aware of any items used on your trip.

Personal locator beacon (PLB)You must take a personal locator beacon (PLB) on your trip unless you have confirmed that mobile phone coverage is available during the whole trip. The club has PLBs that can be collected from the gear room.
Check the club PLB Policy for the appropriate use of a PLB or if in doubt ask a club committee member. If a club PLB is activated during the weekend, SAR will first contact that weekend’s club emergency contact. It is therefore very important that you have completed the club’s intentions/emergency contacts process.
Note that generally a PLB should only be activated in life-threatening situations—but refer to PLB Policy for details.

You must also ensure your group takes with them:

Topographic map and compassBring your own topo map and compass, and get familiar with the route.

The club does not have cookers available for hire.

You will need to ask members of your party to bring the appropriate cookers and fuel for your trip.

Cookers come in various weights (MSR/liquid fuel type ones weigh more, though are more efficient)

When you are allocating gear (similarly with your food allocation), feel free to give heavier items to fitter members of the party. Everyone’s happier if the group pace is relatively even and handicapping gives a subtle nudge in that direction.

Email your intentions to the club's emergency contact

You will be told via email who is the emergency contact for your weekend. If you have forgotten who emergency contact person is you can email the Intentions person for the club, and they will give you the emergency contact person's details.

You must email this person with:

  • your intentions (including plan Bs) and
  • the emergency contact for each of your punters.

You can complete the 'intentions sheet' (found at the bottom of this web page) to provide the emergency contact person with this information.

Forward the name and number of the club emergency contact person back to your punters, so that they can pass it on to their emergency contact (who may become worried if the group is late out).

If your trip is overdue, the club emergency contact person will contact Search and Rescue, who will assess whether a search is necessary.

Find out what the weather forecast is

  • Keep an eye on the forecasts during the week leading up to the trip to see how the weather is trending
  • Take a good look at the forecast on the Friday afternoon before you leave (mountain forecasts for the weekend are generally available after about 1pm)
  • If the forecast is dire and threatens your planned route, talk to your punters about the other options – either at the station or the food stop en-route (as part of your planning, you will have developed plan Bs just for this situation!)
  • Remember that the weather may be better/worse than forecast – don’t treat it as gospel.

What to do if there is sickness

It’s better for someone to pull out at the last minute than to be sick in the back country. Having an ill punter on your trip can create difficulties in completing your intentions and can cause that person to become sicker.

Encourage people to stay home if they are feeling unwell.

Refunds can be organised for the ferry portion of a trip fare if you contact the transport officer before the sailing (though not for van/rental costs).

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