Tongariro Alpine Crossing to partially reopen

A motorist is surrounded by a cloud of ash on state highway one after Mt Tongariro erupted earlier this month. Photo / Hagen Hopkins
A motorist is surrounded by a cloud of ash on state highway one after Mt Tongariro erupted earlier this month. Photo / Hagen Hopkins

The world famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing track, which was shut down after Mt Tongariro erupted earlier this month, will partially reopen tomorrow.

It is the first step to get the one-day walk, which attracts more than 80,000 visitors a year, fully opened in time for the summer hiking season.

The decision, which comes after consultation between Department of Conservation and Ngati Tuwharetoa through local hapu Ngati Hikairo ki Tongariro, has been applauded by regional tourism organisations, businesses and community leaders within the Central Plateau.

And they believe that the recent volcanic activity will give the walk new appeal and will be an even bigger draw-card for international and domestic visitors.

"The crossing is already a bucket list activity for many visitors to our region, from seasoned trampers through to first timers to the mountain," said Destination Great Lake Taupo marketing manager, Donna Jarden.

"Now with even more steaming craters, volcanic ash, boulders and hot vents there is plenty of new activity to see."

Tracks to Red Crater and Oturere Hut will open tomorrow following a 10am blessing ceremony 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 the zone to shortly reduce to 2km, allowing staff and contractors to begin stabilising damaged track sections.

* For more on the region, see our Tongariro National Park travel section.

- APNZ

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