This summer is likely to be busy on the trail. Across the country Kiwis are getting ready to celebrate new freedoms and 'stretch their legs', with record numbers booked into great walk huts.
A trip into nature is no excuse to go wild. Look after your fellow hikers and the tracks you share.
Hiking, like any other mode of transport, comes with a code of conduct.
Here are the five rules of the road, track or trail no hiker should leave home without.
Who gives way to whom?
Bikers should always give way to hikers. End of. On a shared track, cyclists should give space for to oncoming walkers. If said walkers have to dive out the way of your spokes, slow down.
Hikers and bikers should both yield to horse riders and livestock being moved.
This goes for horses, llamas or alpacas. If it has sharp teeth, hooves and a mind of its own, let it pass with plenty of room.
Plenty of hikers head to the outside to hear the sound of nature - the waiata of the wild - not the raucous chatter of other walking groups.
This bit of advice might sound curmudgeonly, but it's fair to assume that people head outdoors for a bit of space and quiet. Trail small talk aside, don't inflict your conversation on other hikers any longer than it is welcome.
To the bluetooth speaker brigade: save the battery. Studies have shown that areas with increased levels of man made noise or 'human-induced stressors' have adverse affects on wildlife. If you need to head outside with a tune to get outside your head, bring a set of earphones.
Stride to the soundtrack of your choice, just don't inflict it on other hikers.
There's no more exasperating situation for all parties than to have one fast-moving party breathing down the neck of another hiking group, that won't budge or speed up. It's only polite to let them know your intentions to pass and let them find a suitable passing space to stop.
A simple "Kia ora", "G'day" or a platitude about the weather is enough to let them know you're there. ("Out the way!" or "coming through!" isn't quite the right tone.) Barging elbows first is rude and, in some places, dangerous.
Stick to the path
Anyone who has tackled the Rakiura trails on Stewart Island will know that walking on the trail in knee-high mud can be a slow, soul draining experience, but making a b-line through the woods, or cutting a corner to save time can end up damaging the trails further, or making the area harder to pass.
Respect train closures and notices. If hiking cross country, tread lightly on hard surfaces to minimise trampling fragile vegetation.
Big groups be aware of your size
Hiking groups are a great way of spending time with like minded people in nature, but be courteous of oncoming traffic. A large school group - fifteen people deep and ten across - can be as impenetrable as an All Blacks back row. Share the trail with others.
Avoid body checking walkers in the other direction, walking in twos or even single file in narrower parts of the track can avoid bottle necks.