The Tongariro region has more to offer visitors than ever and local tourism operators are encouraging them to see what all the excitement is about.
The tourism industry has welcomed today’s announcement that the Tongariro Northern Circuit and part of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing will reopen on Thursday.
Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) Advocacy Manager Geoff Ensor says the region is an integral part of what New Zealand has to offer both international and New Zealand visitors.
“Those central North Island landscapes are world-famous and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is widely recognised as one of the top day treks in the world. The recent volcanic activity will add to the experience and we are confident that all necessary steps are being taken to assure visitors’ safety,” Mr Ensor says.
“This is a great opportunity to go out with experienced operators who know the area well and can point out the features of the new activity.”
Tongariro Alpine Crossing Transport and Guide concessionaires group (TACTAG) Chairman Stewart Barclay says local operators have been working closely with the Department of Conservation to ensure visitors can enjoy the region safely. People undertaking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing will still be able to visit the Emerald Lakes, a highlight of the trip.
“This summer will be a great time to visit, while you can still see evidence of the recent volcanic activity in an active natural landscape. There are few other places in the world where people can safely get this close to an active volcano,” Mr Barclay says.
“The world famous Emerald Lakes, depicted in everyone’s photographs of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, are even more spectacular and vivid as a result of the recent volcanic activity.”
Mr Barclay adds that at 80,000ha, the Tongariro National Park has a wide range of options for visitors in addition to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
Holiday Parks Association Chief Executive Fergus Brown says tourism is the lifeblood of the region and local holiday park operators are delighted that authorities have been able to reopen the tracks in a timely fashion.
“We see a lot of school groups visiting the area at this time of year and did not want too many to have to cancel. What a great opportunity this is for them to study an active volcanic area,” Mr Brown says.