Date: 13 December 2012
The Department of Conservation says it is expecting a busy summer season in Tongariro National Park following heightened publicity after the recent volcanic activity.
DOC says summer is always a peak period for the park and the recent activity on both Mt Tongariro and Mt Ruapehu has increased the region’s profile.
DOC’s Ruapehu Area manager, Jono Maxwell, said that a wide range of hiking, mountain biking and sightseeing activities are available on both mountains and much of the popular Tongariro Alpine Crossing track remains open.
He says the mountains have been attracting big crowds recently and staff are gearing up for even more visitors over the next few months.
“Tongariro National Park offers visitors the unique opportunity to tackle world class walks whilst traversing a vibrant and dynamic active volcanic landscape,” said Mr Maxwell.
Mr Maxwell advised visitors that the Te Maari section of the Alpine Crossing closest to the most recent eruption will remain closed due to on-going volcanic activity, as will the recommended no-go zone around Ruapehu’s Crater Lake.
“Gas and steam are still coming from Te Maari crater and GNS scientists tell us this area is still a potential risk for increased volcanic hazard in the foreseeable future. The Ruapehu crater lake activity is still not at normal background levels and is being closely monitored by GNS science. The Department will advise when the access recommendation changes.”
The Mangatepopo road and carpark are temporarily closed to the public, to relieve congestion issues while the Te Maari section of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is closed. There are a range of public transport options available from transport companies and accommodation providers throughout the district. Check with your accommodation provider, DOC Whakapapa visitor centre or local i-SITE. Public car parking is also available at Whakapapa village, where shuttle services operate to the track entrance.
For the rest of the park it’s business as usual.
“Much of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is open, including what most consider the most scenic leg past Ngauruhoe and up to the Emerald Lakes, with its stunning volcanic landscape, and there are dozens of other tracks on both mountains to explore.”
DOC says GNS Science indicates the heightened volcanic state of Te Maari may continue for some months and the Department will continue to monitor the situation closely.
Bhrent Guy, Programme Manager Community Relations
Department of Conservation Ruapehu
Ph: +64 7 892 3468