Medical / rescue / phone coverage


The closest health centre is in Wakefield (45 mins drive). After-hours medical care is available at Nelson Hospital.

All participants must be willing to disclose any medical conditions to the trip leader/instructor during before activities away from town. Anyone with conditions or injuries that cannot be effectively self-managed will unfortunately not be able to participate in those activities.



There is a volunteer Search and Rescue team based in Nelson, with limited canyon SAR capability. Even with a personal locator beacon, helicopter rescue may be many hours away, even the following day. All participants need to be prepared to spend the night in the canyon if there were an accident.

A detailed Safety Management Plan, including an Incident Management Plan have been prepared for the festival. All participants need to read and follow the instructions in these plans.


Phone coverage

There is no mobile phone coverage in or near almost all of the canyons in the Top of the South. The closest reception will normally be at the nearest town – so St Arnaud for those at the head of Lake Rotoiti, Tapawera for those near Mt Owen, and Marahau for those in the Abel Tasman.