Part of crossing to reopen after eruption
A view from the Tongariro Crossing (file)
Part of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is set to reopen after its closure last week following the eruption of Mt Tongariro.
Barriers were put up at the Mangatepopo and Ketetahi Road ends of the crossing after Te Maari crater spewed ash and gas up to 4km in the air in last Wednesday's short eruption.
The Department of Conservation plans to reopen the northern circuit and part of the crossing on Thursday, with new signage and barriers marking the tracks to the Emerald Lakes and Oturere Valley.
DOC's Ruapehu area manager Jonathan Maxwell says visitor and staff safety is paramount.
"The tracks being re-opened cannot only be used safely but will provide visitors with an amazing enhanced national park experience."
Since the eruption, DOC has been assessing the potential hazards and the risk posed. Advice has also been sought from GNS Science.
The crossing as a whole will take longer to reopen, with the section of track from Oturere Junction to Ketetahi Road remaining closed at this stage.
A rahui (protective restriction) remains in place around the Upper Te Maari crater, covering the highest risk area.
Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson has welcomed the plans to reopen parts of the track.
"I congratulate DOC, Ngati Tuwharetoa and business leaders for working together responsibly and collaboratively to get these tracks open while ensuring that public safety is paramount."
A blessing ceremony will take place at the Mangatepopo Road car park on Wednesday morning, ahead of the track reopening to the public on Thursday.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is New Zealand's most popular day walk.