The Hakarimata Summit Track, one of the Waikato's most popular walks, has reopened with a warning to visitors to take responsibility for their health and hygiene and to scan the QR code at the bottom of the track.
The Department of Conservation is also encouraging people to explore other tracks around the district to ease pressure on the Hakarimata track.
The track, with narrow paths and steps with handrails in places, offers a 335m climb from Brownlee Ave in Ngaruawahia to the summit - a total 1349 steps.
The track, which sees about 200,000 visitors a year, was deemed too narrow and too popular and closed at Covid-19 alert level 4, level 3 and for the past two weeks in level 2 because of concerns that social distancing could not be maintained by people using it.
With the country at Covid-19 alert level 2 for two weeks and a contact-tracing app introduced by the Government, DoC and Waikato District Council believe it is now safe to reopen the track.
Council chief executive Gavin Ion says although many people will be eager to get out there and up the hill, to save lives and to stop the spread of Covid-19, it will be vital visitors be safe and look after themselves and others.
"This means we ask you to scan the QR code at the bottom of the track to help with contact tracing. We also ask you to try to keep a 2m distance from people you don't know, and don't leave home if you're unwell.
"We also recommend you wash your hands at the carpark toilets or sanitise your hands before and after your walk or run. It's also best if you cough or sneeze into your elbow while up the track," Mr Ion says.
"We're asking visitors to take responsibility for their health and hygiene and consider others when using the track.
"This means ensuring you have cleaning and hygiene products with you and minimise contact with people you don't know.
"Hygiene is really crucial at this point – we need all visitors to adhere to the rules that have become second nature to us. Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.
"The track includes heavily used handrails and we don't want you passing on bugs," Mr Ion says.
DoC's Waikato District operations manager, Ray Scrimgeour, is anticipating the track will be very busy with people keen to get their exercise in at a heavily favoured location.
For the meantime, Mr Scrimgeour encourages walkers and runners to consider other tracks for their exercise if they have access to these.
"We're urging Hakarimata track users to show courtesy, caution and patience when they're on the track. Be conscious of other users and their speed, fitness and agility.
"Go prepared for changeable seasonable weather – wear a good sturdy pair of shoes and take a jacket."
DoC encourages the public to explore tracks around the district to ease some of the pressure on the Hakarimata Summit Track – Kaniwhaniwha Nikau Walk and Caves, the Mangakawa Nature Walk and Kakepuku Track are all family-friendly walks within 30 minutes of Hamilton.
• DoC manages most of the track within the Hakarimata Scenic Reserve, and Waikato District Council is responsible for the popular Brownlee Ave access point and the first few hundred metres of the track.