Pay attention. You may have missed the obvious…

When we are out and about tramping, assessing risks and consequences is par for the course. We assess as part of the preparation when considering a route, we re-assess just before starting out and continue to do so throughout the trip. Weather, terrain, equipment, food and water, ourselves, mobile phone coverage, rescue parameters… the list is as long as you like.

So just occasionally, we come across the occasional sign that is well meant, but in the circumstances might be considered an excess of administrative enthusiasm. We’d like to share some of our favourites…

Tsunami waves occur frequently around the Pacific Ocean, and since the devastating ones that hit Japan in 2011, town councils have been very pro-active at reminding us of the danger. Some districts even have sirens and flashing warning beacons. Unfortunately, New Zealand is very flat and very coastal. You may have to travel a significant distance to reach high enough ground. The only safe way to deal with this one is not to go to the beach.

Don't camp, but feel free to park your car and go for a walk. Posted at a South Island beach.
Don’t camp, but feel free to park your car and go for a walk. Posted at a South Island beach, the nearest safe high ground is about 25kms away.

Of course, being coastal means that from time to time, cliffs and headlands occur. They pose a danger as if you walk too close to the edge, you might find yourself trying to fly instead of walk. Not advisable under any circumstances. But in our limited experience of walking along cliffs, we knew we were walking along a cliff. And we certainly knew how high they were!

Pay attention!
Pay attention!

Auckland Council have modern, subtle signs that are not too graphic. The advice is simple to read. DOC on the otherhand don’t believe in being subtle. Subtle might not get the seriousness of the message across.

DOC's version of "Don't mess with the cliff!".
DOC’s version of “Don’t mess with the cliff!”. At Cape Brett of all places!

And then there was the visit to the volcanic thermal springs area of New Zealand, near Rotorua.

DOC sign pointing out the obvious. Steam is hot!
DOC sign pointing out the obvious. Steam is hot!
And private signs aren't subtle either.
And private signs aren’t subtle either.

But if you go and visit caves, that’s a different story…IMGP2132 .

And if all else fails, good old fashioned politeness and good manners will always stand you in good stead. 🙂



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