Date: 24 April 2013
The Department of Conservation is pleased to announce the reopening of the northern section of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This will allow walkers to walk the full length of the track from Mangatepopo car-park to the Ketetahi car-park. This will take effect from Wednesday 8 May 2013.
Ruapehu Area Manager Jonathan Maxwell said that this was great news for the tourism industry in the central North Island and for New Zealand as a whole. "Our staff have put a great deal of work into ensuring that robust risk assessment has been applied before the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is reopened. There is improved, on-going monitoring of volcanic activity on Mt Tongariro and DOC will continue improve other risk management including working closely with GNS Science to develop automated early warning systems", said Jonathan.
The Mangatepopo Road and car-park and the Ketetahi Road and car-park will be reopened from May 8 and local bus concessionaires will continue to provide transport to and from these car parks as was done prior to the eruptions of Te Maari in 2012.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing will be officially reopened with a blessing by kaumatua from local Iwi Ngati Hikairo ki Tongariro at 9:00 am on Wednesday May 8. Members of the local tourism industry, the local MP and senior DOC staff are expected to attend and members of the public are welcome to join the opening ceremony. Following the blessing and formal reopening visitors will be able to again walk the full length of the track.
Additional toilets have been put in at the Soda Springs and temporary repairs have been made to the Ketetahi Hut which will now act as a day shelter until it is replaced with a new day shelter in 2014.
Visitors are asked to carefully read the warning signs and to at all times be aware that they are in an active volcanic zone when they are on the section of track from Blue Lake to most of the way to the Ketetahi car-park. Prior to next October additional signage will be put in place to help improve visitor safety. The aim is also to install electronic sign boards which will be rapidly updated if volcanic unrest increases.
Jonathan also said that "Visitors should talk with their bus driver or guide to get advice on what action to take should a volcanic event happen. It is important to read the safety brochure provided by the bus drivers and guides and also available in the car parks. We want our visitors to come and enjoy themselves in this exciting living landscape but they also need to do all they can to keep themselves safe."
Programme Manager Community Relations, Ruapehu Area
Phone: +64 7 892 3468
Mobile: +64 21 908 565