Extremely heavy rain in Tongariro National Park overnight on January 18 has caused substantial damage to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
The route remains open but walkers are asked to exercise caution when moving through flood damaged areas. Damage has occurred on both the Ketetahi and Mangatepopo sides of the walk.
Between Mangatepopo and Soda Springs the main damage was caused by water and rock movement. The track in the vicinity of these areas has been washed out but is still easily passable by following track markers.
Walkers are asked to take extra care when passing through. On the Ketetahi side of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing it is thought a small dam may have built up over the course of the storm and the extremely heavy rainfall may have caused water to pond behind it. It is likely the ponded water broke through the dam during the night and washed large boulders and logs down the old path created by the 2012 Te Maari lahar.
Two new bridges, built after the 2012 eruption of the Te Maari craters, have been covered with rocks and logs and it will be days before these are cleared. Meanwhile, a diversion has been created around the two bridges and walkers should follow the route to the Ketetahi carpark.