How to hire a personal locator beacon in NZ

If you’re headed into the New Zealand bush, a locator beacon really can be the difference between life and death.  To ensure your safety in the outdoors, it is now possible to hire a personal locator beacon (PLB) cheaply and easily, nationwide.

The New Zealand bush can be unforgiving.  The remote nature of certain parts of the country both draws people in and causes some to come unstuck.

Until now, locator beacons have been encouraged but not readily available for hire.

The only alternative was to make a costly purchase (on a device with a limited lifespan) or to head out unprepared, hoping for the best.

Thanks to the Southland Locator Beacon Charitable Company and Macpac, this is no longer the case as PLBs are available for hire throughout New Zealand.

Backpackers looking at the mountainous view of Routeburn Track Fiordland.
Incredible views from the Routeburn Track. Photo: Stewart Nimmo.

How to Hire a Personal Locator Beacon in New Zealand

With every Macpac store (all 96 of them) now stocking these life-saving devices, heading off for a tramp deep into Aotearoa’s incredible bush is safer than ever.

Originally tested in the parts of the South Island, this new innovative now means that the whole country has access to affordable, reliable PLBs on a rental basis.

To hire a personal locator beacon, you’ll be looking at $15 for one day, $30 for 3 days and only $40 for a week.

With prices like this, there really is no excuse for going bush without one.

According to Jon Munro, the chairman of the Southland Locator Beacon Charitable Comapny, carrying a PLB significantly increases the chances of trampers being rescued.  So much so that 90% of users who activate their locator beacons are rescued within only 60 minutes of doing so.

Not only are these people found much faster but significant money is saved on the process.

Tourists walking on the top of a mountain with a view of the lakes and landscapes.

Extensive search and rescue operations are expensive as they require a great deal of manpower and equipment to search a wide area.  By pinpointing a specific location countless resources (including helicopters and dozens of people) can be saved.

“It really takes out the search in search and rescue,” explains Munro.

Carrying a PLB means that search and rescue teams can spot the location of people in trouble in the bush, regardless of cellphone coverage.

Over the years, public perception of locator beacons has changed significantly.  What once was an unlikely piece of kit, it now in high demand amongst safety-conscious trampers. If you too would like to ensure your safety out in the New Zealand bush, we recommend swinging past your local Macpac store to hire a personal locator beacon on your next hike. 

Doing so will ensure you enjoy your hike in safety.

Related: 101 New Zealand travel FAQs: A guide for first-time visitors.

Pro tip: New Zealand’s weather is very changeable. Keep an eye on the forecast, and be prepared for the season.

Two men standing on the golden fields with a river up ahead and the other guy pointing at something.

Love tramping? Check out our recommended walks in Aotearoa:

Photo credit: Stewart Nimmo

Similar Posts