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Life is good – it’s summer and you’ll soon experience a New Zealand Christmas and a Kiwi New Year! With the range of different experiences, opportunities and things to do all around the country, the summer season in New Zealand is one not to be missed. Pastimes such as enjoying a bbq, fishing, eating an ice cream at the beach, backyard cricket (BYC) or lazying around in the water are the quintessential kiwi summer experiences to anticipate!
With New Zealand being one of the safest places to visit in the world, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that your experiences are ones to remember for all the right reasons. We’ve put together a few safety tips to help you through the summer.
This might be the first time you're experiencing the Christmas holidays in the summer. You're going to love being one of the locals by getting involved in every outdoor activity possible. The New Zealand environment is full of biking and walking tracks, beaches and waterways, and numerous sight-seeing options. While you’re out in the fresh air this summer you need to remember that the New Zealand sun can be quite harsh. The message when out in the NZ sun is simple:
Slip – slip on a shirt
Slop – slop on some sunscreen (at least SPF 30+)
Slap – slap on a hat, and
Wrap – wrap on some sunglasses, and
don’t forget to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids
The holidays also provide the perfect opportunity to experience different parts of the country. Our beautiful scenery is a must to see and experience. While you’re travelling make sure you abide by the driving laws if you’re driving and some key messages include:
Licence and road rules. Make sure you have the correct type of Driver’s Licence and that you know the New Zealand Road Code and rules. You can refer to the Code and rules at www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/roadcode/
Take out insurance. You need to make sure you and any other car involved in an accident are covered by insurance.
Never drive when under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol impair the ability to make sound judgements and drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol are a significant risk to all road users and pedestrians.
Ensure that you are well rested when you drive. Don’t over-extend yourself when travelling for long periods of time. Take breaks at regular intervals and if you feel tired, stop and take a rest or sleep.
Don’t use a cell phone when driving. It is illegal to use a cell phone when driving. If you need to take a call or read and return a text, pull over safely before accessing your phone.
Remove or hide your valuables from view. You’ve just made it to your destination and are excited to get out of the car and experience what the area has to offer – take the time to ensure that all valuables are with you or out of sight and ensure your vehicle is safely secure before going anywhere.
For further safe driving tips, visit the NZ Transport Agency.
With approximately 14,000 kilometres of coastline and multiple waterways inland, New Zealand is a mecca for swimming and other water sports such as surfing, water skiing, kayaking, and paddle boarding.
The water temperature is mild, the surf is rolling in and you have the ability to impersonate your favourite aquatic mammal! Swimming is definitely a favourite pastime around the country, but like the sun, water should always be treated with respect. Safety in the water is very important and there are some things that you can do to be safer and enjoy your time in the water.
Swim between the flags. Many popular New Zealand beaches have areas mapped out with flags. These areas are identified by life savers/life guards as safer areas to swim. They are observed and patrolled by life savers who are there to help with the safety of the swimmers. Less popular beaches will not have any life savers on duty.
Raise one arm. If you get into trouble while swimming, raise one arm, call out for help and wait for assistance.
Don’t swim in a calm spot. If you are to swim at non-flagged beaches, ensure that you are a capable swimmer and stay clear of calm patches in the surf – this is an indication of an underlying rip in the water. Should you find yourself in a rip, swim parallel to the beach to escape the rip and then head back to shore.
Swim in groups/pairs. Where possible swim in groups or in pairs. If one person gets into trouble, someone else has the ability to raise the alarm should an incident occur.
Know your limits. If you are not a strong swimmer, remain close to the shore. Only swim out to a distance that you are comfortable with and can return from with ease.
For more hints on water safety at the beach, go to Water Safety New Zealand.
New Zealand is a beautiful place to visit but it is important to look after yourself and incorporate these safety tips into your travel during the summer break. Got any further tips to keep others safe? Share them below in the comments below: