Department of Conservation and local Iwi reopened the Tongariro Alpine Crossing from Mangatepopo to Ketetahi on the 19th October 2012. The track was closed after the Te Maari Crater erupted on the 6th August causing damage to the track and to the Ketetahi Hut. Damage to the track and the hut remains obvious, and adds another dimension to the hike. To bare witness to the aftermath of a volcanic eruption is intriguing. The Te Maari Crater continues to discharge steam, which only adds to the experience of hiking the Crossing. The crater is about 1.5km’s to the east of the track at the closest viewing point. On a clear day the newly active crater is certainly a spectacle. A lahar occurred on the 14th October washing over part of the track towards the Ketetahi finishing point. To see the damage on this part of the track is also interesting. Current hiking conditions on the Alpine Crossing include snow through the South and Central Craters. So it is a good idea to pack a spare pair of socks. As the snow melts it can get pretty wet and muddy through these parts.
Before you head out on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing make sure you have full wet weather gear, plenty of warm layers, and sturdy footwear, as weather conditions can change rapidly up there. As always, it is a good idea to check with experienced locals before heading into the mountains.