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Partially reopened Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Partially reopened Tongariro Alpine Crossing now with new appeal

MEDIA RELEASE

30 August 2012

The Department of Conservation in consultation with Ngāti Tūwharetoa through local hapu Ngāti Hikairo ki Tongariro, Regional Tourism Organisations and businesses will reopen part of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing on Friday 31 August, following the eruption of Mount Tongariro earlier this month. This is the first step in a plan to see the iconic one-day walk, attracting upwards of 80,000 visitors every year, reopened in time for the summer hiking season.

The decision has been applauded by businesses and community leaders within the Central Plateau. As a result of the recent volcanic activity the walk holds new appeal and will be an even bigger draw-card for international and domestic visitors.

Visit Ruapehu's General Manager, Mike Smith is delighted at the announcement. "We are thrilled at the decision to partially reopen the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. As volcanic activity subsides restrictions can be further relaxed and remediation work commence so we can be fully open for business in time for a busy summer."

DOC, iwi and local community and businesses leaders have worked closely together over the past few weeks discussing how this event has presented an opportunity to deliver an even better Tongariro Alpine Crossing visitor experience in the future.

“The Crossing is already a ‘bucket list’ activity for many visitors to our region, from seasoned trampers through to first timers to the mountain” commented Destination Great Lake Taupō Marketing Manager, Donna Jarden. “Now with even more steaming craters, volcanic ash, boulders and hot vents there is plenty of new activity to see. Add to this an important and authentic cultural dimension and you have a world class visitor experience second to none.”

Tracks to Red Crater and Oturere Hut will open this Friday 31 August, following a blessing ceremony, Te Whakapainga at 10.00am at the Mangatepopo car park. Other sections of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing remain closed while a 3km risk management area is in place. Officials expect this zone to reduce to 2kms in the not-too-distant future. After that staff and contractors may be able to begin stabilising damaged track sections.

Visitors are encouraged to make use of alternative tracks around Whakapapa and Mt Ruapehu. The Taranaki Falls, Whakapapanui and Silica Rapids day walks are all open and unaffected.

ENDS


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