Despite a lack of international tourists, bookings for the Tongariro Northern Circuit Great Walk are up on this time last year, suggesting Kiwis are eager to experience Tongariro’s popular hikes.
The Labour Day long weekend at the beginning of October marked the unofficial start of the season for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing day hike.
Tongariro Operations Manager Connie Norgate says the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is on the bucket list for many Kiwis and less experienced hikers often aren’t prepared or fit enough for this challenging 19.4 km hike.
“Many people don’t realise this hike is in an exposed alpine environment. The weather can change very fast with freezing temperatures, heavy rainfall and strong winds being common – even in summer. There’s no shelter on the track and when the weather comes in, there’s nowhere to go.
“The hike also passes through active volcanic and geothermal areas, where there is always a risk of eruption present, with the last occurring in 2012 from Te Maari Crater on Mt Tongariro.”
There are geothermal steam vents in the Emerald Lakes area and the ground can be unstable around these vents. Unfortunately, last season a hiker walked off track near the lakes and fell into one, suffering second degree leg burns.
While this is a popular place for people to take photos and eat lunch it is very important for hikers to stay on track.
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