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June 2019 Issue
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Busy season on TAC

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is often rated as New Zealand’s best day walk

DOC has no major issues to report after a busy season on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

While the numbers are yet to be finalised, DOC operations manager Connie Norgate believed the number of walkers had increased from last season’s nearly 150,000.

Despite this, DOC reported the amount of litter and human waste on the crossing was no more than any other track in Tongariro National Park.

“There are 26 toilets on the TAC which are emptied regularly, minimising risk of toilet waste on and off track,” Norgate said.

The four hour parking restrictions introduced in 2017 have also been effective, and Norgate said there had been no issues with freedom campers.

“[Restrictions] have eliminated a lot of the congestion at the road ends which was a real issue in the past and this has allowed visitors to access short walks,” she said. There is currently no plan in place to limit the number of walkers on the crossing, however, signage pointing out the track’s major summits has been removed in a bid to reduce the number of people climbing them.

Preparedness has been the major focus for DOC this season and a video outlining the challenges of the walk and the appropriate equipment to take has been put together by the Mountain Safety Council and is available online and at the Whakapapa Visitor Centre.

“Operators and guides have also been great advocates in sharing these messages,” Norgate said.

One tramper has died on the track since October, and several have been rescued.