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Partially re-opened Tongariro Alpine Crossing now with new appeal

Partially re-opened Tongariro Alpine Crossing now with new appeal
August 30, 2012

The Department of Conservation in consultation with Ng ti t Wharetoa through local hapu Ng ti Hikairo ki Tongariro, Regional Tourism Organisations and businesses will re-open part of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing on Friday 31st August.

Closed since the eruption of Mount Tongariro earlier this month, the reopening is the first step in a plan to see the popular one-day walk, attracting up-wards of 80,000 visitors every year, re-opened 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, stating "we are thrilled at the decision to partially re-open 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.

Destination Great Lake Taupo Marketing Manager, Donna Jarden adds "the Crossing is already a 'bucket list' activity for many visitors to our region, from seasoned trampers through to first timers to the mountain.

"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."

While tracks to Red Crater and Oturere Hut will reopen on 31st August, other sections of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing remain closed while a 3 kilometre risk management area is in place.

Officials expect this zone to reduce to 2 kilometres 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.

For more information go to www.visitruapehu.com

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