This story is an update to an article published in 2022.

It’s amazing to think that it has been five years since “that” family came to our shores.

Back in the summer of 2019, a family from the UK caused headlines and headaches up and down the country and forever etched the word “unruly” into the Kiwi lexicon. Their exploits even became an opera.

Of course, the family dominated the headlines at a time of the year when news editors are scrambling for stories.

Now with summer heating up again, we already have a new “tourists gone rogue” story as two Swiss cyclists found out the hard way not to cycle in the Tongariro National Park.

Here’s that, and other times tourists needed a good talking to.

Tongariro National Park

There are plenty of signs that say mountain biking is prohibited in the national park, but somehow a couple of Swiss cyclists missed them all.

Video footage showed trampers on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing watching on in bemusement as the two cyclists travelled through the Dual World Heritage park. Their acts were “an affront to those working to protect the fragile environment and cultural significance” of the Crossing.

It is an offence under the Tongariro National Park bylaws (1981) to use a vehicle, including bicycles, off formed roads.

The result saw the pair fined $400 each and had their bikes confiscated.

Ōmanawa Falls

There was no way that you could miss the warning signs to Ōmanawa Falls. Access to the tapu falls is dangerous and has resulted in numerous serious injuries, rescues and even deaths.

Videos on TikTok in 2022 showed at least four visitors swimming in the falls and earned a stiff rebuke from the local council.

The good news is that access to view the waterfall has been reopened after a series of track upgrades, including three viewing platforms, hundreds of steps and an ecological walk. Swimming is still a no-go, as access down to the water is still unsafe and the site is considered sacred to local hapū Ngāti Hangarau.

The incident wasn’t the only time tourists went rogue at the falls. In September 2020, Red Bull cliff diver Iris Schmidbauer posted a video to Tiktok showing her jumping off the falls.

Te Wai o Te Taniwha/Mermaid Pools

When the secret got out about Te Wai o Te Taniwha/Mermaid Pools, it got out big time. At its peak during one holiday season, more than 2000 people would swim in its waters in Northland.

That meant the fragile ecosystem was being damaged by urine, sunscreen and people leaving rubbish behind.

The Mermaid Pools were officially closed to the public in 2019 with iwi putting a rāhui tapu in place. In support of the rāhui placed on the Otīto Scenic Reserve by local hapū Te Whānau a Rangiwhakaahu, DOC also closed off the unofficial walkway that led from Matapōuri Bay over Rangitapu Headland to Te Wai O Te Taniwha/Mermaid Pools.

At the time, Kris MacDonald, the chairman of the Matapōuri marae said: “There is no point in having a beautiful taonga like this if it’s going to be killed by too many people.”

Mt Taranaki

Back in 2017 a Playboy playmate’s decision to go nude on top of Mt Taranaki caused quite the fuss.

At the time, Stratford mayor Neil Volzke called Jaylene Cook’s actions “culturally insensitive and not what I would expect someone to do on the summit of Mt Taranaki”.

Cook’s image attracted more than 16,000 likes and was picked up by national and international media. In her defence, she told Newstalk ZB: “There was nowhere that we read or were told that it was a bad thing to do, and we believe that it still wasn’t … I’m sorry that people felt we were being disrespectful – that was never our intention.”

It wasn’t the first time tourists behaved badly on Mt Taranaki. In 2011 a group of climbers carried a barbecue to the summit and cooked a meal, sparking outrage from DOC and the eight Taranaki iwi with links to the mountain. Another example of people scattering their loved one’s ashes on Mt Taranaki was also condemned.

Waitākere Ranges

Back in 2017, iwi carried out a rāhui ceremony to stop access to some tracks in the Waitākere Ranges in response to the spread of kauri dieback throughout the area.

Dozens of tracks were closed, but some people decided that it didn’t apply to them. Not content with ignoring the rules, some went as far as to vandalise the fences designed to keep them out.

At the time, Auckland Council regulatory compliance manager Steve Pearce told RNZ: “There’s been fences that have been taken down, chucked into nearby streams, signs that have been removed and it’s just senseless vandalism.

“We’re trying to protect those ranges and those parks for all New Zealanders, all of our tourists, and a couple of silly people have gone and wrecked it for everyone.”

Lake Pūkaki

The headline alone in 2016 was enough to make readers stop and take notice: “Emergency defecation situation as tourist starts grass fire near Lake Pukaki.”

A French tourist “thought he was in the shit” when he accidentally started a grass fire on the shores of one of New Zealand’s most pristine lakes after defecating and then trying to burn the evidence.

At the time, Twizel chief fire officer Simon Fox said the man had been walking the Te Araroa Trail along the southern foreshore of the lake when he found himself caught short.

“I was gobsmacked when he told me what had caused it, I had to give him a double take,” Fox said. “It’s the strangest fire call-out I have ever been to. He was pretty embarrassed.”