a DOC track with a bridge extending into bush, a fog is over it and fluoro-jacketed tourists walk over the bridge

Christmas is here, but our festive promenades are a little more accessible than those in the winter wonderland of Europe.

We’re on the edge of summer, and everyone’s itching to get outdoors. To help Kiwis figure out where to go on that next sunny day, the Department of Conservation has teamed up with AA Traveller to release a walking guide.

Walking in New Zealand covers half-hour jaunts through to multi-day rambles from the top to the bottom of the country, so there’s an outing for every level of fitness.

You could go for a 1.5km history-laden stroll around Ruapekapeka Pā, one of the largest and most complex pā in the country; or at the other end of the country, you could choose to walk the full 150km of the scenic Otago Rail Trail.

AA Traveller managing editor Kath Webster sad the guide would be suitable for everyone from families looking for a child-friendly stroll through to tourists decked out in full hiking gear.

“Through our partnership with DOC we’ve been able to produce a top-quality guide with all the information people need before they put their walking shoes on,” said Webster.

DOC manages more than 14,500kms of track throughout the country, and has the insider info on what’s hot and when. “We know that spending time in nature makes us happier,” said DOC customer engagement director Heather Peacocke. “It helps improve our health and wellbeing.”

To keep being well, the guide includes safety measures as key details for each walk. Descriptions include the best times to walk, maps, fitness requirements, and terrain type as well as local tips to get the most out of your walk.

The guide is expected to be popular with overseas visitors as well as locals looking to explore their backyard. Walking in New Zealand is available free at AA Centres, DOC Visitor Centres, i-SITEs, airports, and many other accommodation and tour providers.

Of course, an electronic version can be found on the AA Traveller website.