Date: 14 May 2020
Trampers keen to get back up on Mount Taranaki in Alert Level 2 will need to practice physical distancing and be prepared for winter conditions, says the Department of Conservation.
With the roads to Egmont National Park reopening, DOC is expecting an influx of people keen to enjoy the great outdoors again.
With all DOC facilities open for public use, people need to be aware of physical distancing and looking after their own health and hygiene during Alert Level 2, says Taranaki Operations Manager Gareth Hopkins.
"We're welcoming people back," says Gareth Hopkins. "But we all need to look out for each other to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 and stay safe."
To maintain the Government's guidelines for gatherings, DOC's bookable accommodation on the mountain is capped to 10 people. On Mt Taranaki, with the non-bookable huts the numbers able to overnight are lower.
For Pouakai, Lake Dive, Waingongoro, Waiaua Gorge and Makatawa Huts, that would normally sleep 16 people, numbers are limited to eight people overnight. At the six-bed Kahui Hut the limit is three people overnight, with four allowed at Syme Hut. Up to 10 people can overnight at the larger Holly Hut.
"This allows physical distancing space for people on the platform bunks, at kitchen facilities and around the fireplace," says Gareth Hopkins.
"At all huts appropriate physical distancing is required – people should bring a tent just in case the huts have reached their limits."
DOC will undertake its normal checks of facilities, which does include some cleaning, however we are asking visitors to be prepared to clean surfaces before they use them and leave the facilities fit for other users.
This means visitors will need to carry their own cleaning equipment in and out of the area they visit.
Visitors are also responsible for being able to trace their own contacts during their visit. This includes letting a trusted contact know your intentions and putting your details in hut intentions books.
All visitors are encouraged to contact DOC's visitor centres prior to heading out on the mountain to get updates on track and mountain conditions as we move into winter.
"Visitors need to be aware of both Covid-19 and the winter conditions on the Mounga and come prepared for both."
Both Dawson Falls Visitor Centre and North Egmont Visitor Centre will be open from Saturday, while the Kamahi Café will remain closed.
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