Mt Ruapehu Summer Magic

mt ruapehu summer magic 1Come up to Mt Ruapehu this summer and enjoy this volcanic wonderland.
At Mt Ruapehu you can enjoy Volcanic Short Walks. There are a variety of free walks on offer that are suitable for all abilities. There is no better way to experience the unique volcanic terrain of Mt Ruapehu up close. Remember to add this to your must-do list of New Zealand Walks and other activities in the region, such as the Tongariro Alpine Crossing or the Old Coach Road.

Meads Wall 30 mins

An easy walk along a marked trail starting from the top of the mountain road, not far from where you park your car. Take in the rugged Mt Ruapehu volcanic terrain and cinematic history.  The Lord of The Rings trilogy used the Meads Wall area as a filming location. If you've seen the movies you will feel the familiarity as you walk around the area. Put yourself in the Hobbits journey to the Black Gates of Mordor and imagine Gollum climbing down Meads Wall's rocky face to meet Frodo and Sam.

Skyline Ridge 1.5 - 2hrs

This is a round trip from the Knoll Ridge Chalet. Ascend to an altitude of 2300 meters above sea level with dramatic views of the volcanic terrain and the Tongariro National Park, Mt Ngauruhoe, Mt Tongariro and Lake Taupo.

Amphitheatre 1.5 - 2hrs

This downhill trail begins at the Knoll Ridge Chalet. The walk follows trail markers west on a journey that winds through open terrain, before descending into a natural amphitheater and back to the base area. There are some great photo opportunities of the Tongariro National Park and West out to Mt Taranaki.

The Guided Crater Lake Hike and Cultural Experiencemt ruapehu summer magic 2

Experience a spectacular journey to the pristine Crater Lake near the highest point in the North Island. Venture through rugged volcanic terrain & learn about the geological & cultural significance of Mt Ruapehu, the Tongariro National Park and New Zealand's first Dual World Heritage Site.

Volcanic risk advice in real-time on Tongariro Alpine Crossing

volcanic risk advisorNew electronic signs have been installed on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (TAC),
in a novel use of technology to help reduce people’s exposure to volcanic hazards along the track.
The lights can be changed remotely by Department of Conservation staff using cellular technology. If information is received from GeoNet, GNS Science or the new Tongariro Eruption Detection System indicating the volcano is becoming more active or has erupted, DOC staff can immediately change the lights from green to orange or red, indicating increasing danger or track closure.

This is perhaps the first use of such a system in New Zealand, and their installation has facilitated the TAC remaining open during the busy summer season when there may be up to 1500 people on the track on any given day. The lights indicate the level of volcanic risk affecting the track and its affect on the status of the track i.e. whether the track is open or closed. It’s usually impossible for people to tell beforehand what the level of volcanic risk is, so the lights tell them. They can then make their own decisions about whether to proceed or turn around before they get into the volcanic hazard zones around the active craters.
Similar light sign systems are in place on a few active volcanoes elsewhere in the world where large numbers of visitors or residents are at significant risk. One notable example is Aso volcano in Japan where thousands of tourists may drive or travel in a gondola to the rim of the active vent each day. The lights in the gondola base station and on the crater rim advise people of the amount of sulphur dioxide gas in the air.

active volcanic hazard zoneOn the Tongariro Alpine Crossing the electronic light signs have been located in four places. Triple lights (red, orange and green) have been placed in the Mangatepopo and Ketetahi car parks at the entrances to the Crossing. Green means the volcanic risk is normal (not zero), and orange indicates the risk is elevated. Red means the risk is high, the track is closed and people should turn around and leave the area. Smaller single red lights signs with “Don’t walk” symbols are located at the boundary of the Active Volcanic Hazard Zone around the Te Maari craters that erupted in August and November last year. These activate only at times the track is closed.

The electronic lights are powered by small solar panels and batteries, and information on the lights status is posted on the webpage www.doc.govt.nz/volcanicrisk. Users should visit this page for more information on the lights and all aspects of the volcanic risks in Tongariro National Park.
An important note is these lights have nothing to do with the weather. The track is never opened or closed due to weather or snow conditions. People are aware of the weather and can get weather and avalanche forecasts. Therefore they must make their own decisions about the wisdom of walking the track if alpine conditions are too harsh or uncertain.