How did you come up with this list?
For a full explanation of how we compiled this, see our Peaks Classification page.
Isn’t climbing peaks just to tick them off on a list missing the point of getting outdoors?
Yes. Actually we agree – we think running around the countryside and treating mountains like some giant golf course for trampers is missing the point of getting outdoors entirely. Having a list to complete provides goals and motivation, but it shouldn’t become a competitive sport where the mountain just provides the backdrop.
You should respect mountains at all times, whether they are 100m or 3000m high. Summits are special and sacred places. Please don’t litter, or ruin a summit’s silence by chatting loudly on a mobile phone about the server crisis at work. And we ask that you don’t attempt to bag peaks on private land, and please always show respect for local beliefs, flora, or fauna.
If you respect a mountain, it will respect you back – after all, who has been here longer, you, or the mountain?
Environmental Care Code
To help protect our environment, and sustain our outdoor environment for future generations, the Department of Conservation has developed the Environment Care Code. Please follow these guidelines with care whenever you are in the outdoors.
- Protect plants and animals
Treat New Zealand’s forests and birds with care and respect. They are unique and often rare.
- Remove rubbish
Litter is unattractive, harmful to wildlife and can increase vermin and disease. Plan your visits to reduce rubbish, and carry out what you carry in.
- Bury toilet waste
In areas without toilet facilities, bury your toilet waste in a shallow hole well away from waterways, tracks, campsites, and huts.
- Keep streams and lakes clean
When cleaning and washing, take the water and wash well away from the water source. Because soaps and detergents are harmful to water-life, drain used water into the soil to allow it to be filtered. If you suspect the water may be contaminated, either boil it for at least 3 minutes, or filter it, or chemically treat it.
- Take care with fires
Portable fuel stoves are less harmful to the environment and are more efficient than fires. If you do use a fire, keep it small, use only dead wood and make sure it is out by dousing it with water and checking the ashes before leaving.
- Camp carefully
When camping, leave no trace of your visit.
- Keep to the track
By keeping to the track, where one exists, you lessen the chance of damaging fragile plants.
- Consider others
People visit the back country and rural areas for many reasons. Be considerate of other visitors who also have a right to enjoy the natural environment.
- Respect our cultural heritage
Many places in New Zealand have a spiritual and historical significance. Treat these places with consideration and respect.
- Enjoy your visit
Enjoy your outdoor experience. Take a last look before leaving an area; will the next visitor know that you have been there? Protect the environment for your own sake, for the sake of those who come after you, and for the environment itself.
Toitu te whenua (Leave the land undisturbed)
Source: DOC Environment Care Code
To stay safe in the New Zealand mountains and hills, you need to be prepared to survive adverse weather at any time of year. Some very brief tips include:
- Take multiple layers of warm & suitable clothing (e.g. thermals, wet weather gear, tramping boots, hats, sunglasses).
- Take plenty of food and water.
- Take navigation equipment (e.g. compass, topographic map, GPS device).
- Tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to be back.
- Take a mobile phone.
- Take a torch and lighter, in case you get lost and have to stay overnight.
- Always get up to date weather forecasts before setting out.
- On harder tramps, go with someone experienced who knows the area.
- Don’t overstretch your abilities.
- Don’t become obsessed by reaching the summit. If the weather changes, or if daylight is failing, just give up for that day and go home. The mountain isn’t going anywhere, and it’s not worth putting yourself at risk just to get to the top.
For more detailed safety information, please check out the pamphlets and manuals provide by the Mountain Safety Council.
What do all the terms in the Peak’s information box mean?
Do I need to be a mega fitness freak to do this stuff?
No, no, and NO. This list is designed specifically to cater for all fitness levels. Of course, to bag the harder alpine peaks, a reasonable level of fitness is important, but many of the smaller peaks on our list can be bagged by anyone who is able to walk.
If you’re not naturally attracted to physical exercise, then peak bagging is a rewarding way to build up your fitness. The trick of course, is to go at your own pace, and to start off on smaller peaks with someone of a similar fitness level to yourself. Many people can get put off hiking completely, because of experiences when walking in large groups, where the less fit get left behind. It can be easy for fit people to not fully comprehend the pain an unfit person is experiencing on even a simple walk!
Our advice is simple: start small, with people of similar fitness levels, and work your way up to the harder peaks.
This piece of advice is important, as on higher mountains, or on multi-day tramps, a good level of fitness is essential for your safety and enjoyment. Vastly over stretching your limits can put you (and your companions) into danger if the weather changes, or if exhaustion leads you to trip and fall. It is desirable (and fun) to push yourself to your limits, but safety in the mountains is paramount, and you need to make calculated judgements on your situation at all times. As well as available food, water, and weather conditions, your level of fitness is one of many factors to consider when deciding whether to push on or turn back and live to fight another day.
Is this yet another crazy extreme sport? Or one of those multisport events where people run over mountains without batting an eyelid?
No, no, and NO. Peak bagging is a simple walking activity. Done properly, it should be a very safe experience – and putting yourself in danger is not the objective. It is also not really a multisport or endurance event, though it could easily be that if you wanted. Combining a mountain run up to a summit with a cycle and kayak is entirely feasible, but certainly not compulsory.