Date: 21 December 2012
Large numbers of visitors are making Tongariro National Park Dual World Heritage Area a high priority on their must do list this summer.
While the northern section of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing remains closed, visitor numbers have been so high on the Mangatepopo Road, which gives access to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing track, that restrictions have been placed on the road and it is temporarily closed to private vehicles.
“The Mangatepopo Road has been temporarily closed to private vehicles because of heavy congestion in the carpark and along the road. The carpark was designed for a maximum of 67 vehicles but on some days recently up to 100 vehicles were being parked in the carpark and along the road,” said Ruapehu Area Manager Jonathan Maxwell. “While I understand the frustration some visitors may have in not being able to drive to the carpark, it is in the interests of public safety that the decision to close the road has been made.”
Visitors wishing to walk the Tongariro Northern Circuit Great Walk and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing to Red Crater are asked to book their transport from their accommodation. Bus concessionaires operate from Taupo, Turangi, SH 47, Whakapapa Village, National Park and Ohakune. The tracks to the top of Mt Ngauruhoe and Tongariro are all open and both provide sensational hiking experiences fit and well equipped trampers.
The 2 km Mt Ruapehu Summit Hazard Zone remains in place and people are advised not to enter this zone due to the current heightened risk of volcanic hazard on Ruapehu.
However there are some great walking tracks on and around Mt Ruapehu and the chairlifts are operating to the Knoll Ridge café, the highest café in New Zealand. “The views from Knoll Ridge are stunning and the chairlift ride in summer is a great experience for young and old,” said Jonathan.