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Tongariro ready to be crossed again

Published: 7:43AM Wednesday May 08, 2013 Source: ONE News

One of the country's most popular walking tracks, the Tongariro Alpine crossing, will be fully re-opened to visitors today.

The track was closed after eruptions in the Te Maari Crater in August and November last year, and was partially re-opened in December.

However, an exclusion zone meant that people doing the crossing could not complete it and had to do a return trip back to the Mangatepopo end.

The Department of Conservation says it is now satisfied the low level risk of future volcanic activity means the track is relatively safe for walkers.

"There can never be a 100% guarantee of safety on an active volcano but the expert advice gives us sufficient confidence that the track can be re-opened," Conservation Minister Nick Smith said two weeks ago.

Smith said the decision to reopen that tracks "will have to be re-considered if there is any change in volcanic activity on the mountain".

DOC will also be implementing additional measures in summer to improve visitor safety including electronic signboards that can be rapidly updated if volcanic unrest increases, increased eruption detection capability, additional advisory notices, and additional training of DOC staff.

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is New Zealand's most popular walk attracting more than 71,000 trekkers each year.