At approximately 1.30pm this afternoon a small amount of ash and volcanic gas erupted from the Te Maari Crater on the North East side of Mt Tongariro. Hikers on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing viewed the eruption with some of our guests commenting just how lucky they felt witnessing such a spectacle produced by nature. Ash erupted about 2km into the air above the vent. There was no threat to life and there have been no further eruptions. I am lucky enough to enjoy a full view of Mt Tongariro from our kitchen table, and as I write there is no visual activity from the volcano.
Department of Conservation has closed the Tongariro Alpine Crossing until further notice. The first review will be held on the 24th November, in a few days time.
How do I feel about the eruption? I have been in the region all of my life, so fully accept volcanos erupt from time to time. I have two small children and do not fear for their safety at all. To be honest I would be worried if the volcanos did not let off pressure from time to time. Would this eruption stop me from enjoying the tracks and nature around Tongariro, absolutely not!
For those hikers wanting to get into the National Park for a day hike I highly recommend the Tama Lakes hike as the No. 1 alternative to the Alpine Crossing. This track travels from Dessert Road through to Whakapapa Village via the historic and the new Waihohonu Huts. You will enjoy beautiful views of Mt Ruapehu and Mt Ngauruhoe, a diverse and interesting landscape, and the stunning Tama Lakes.