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Pouakai Crossing detour continues for summer

A massive slip buried the track during Cyclone Gita in February. Photo: Ian McAlpine

A section of the Pouakai Crossing will remain closed for summer following a massive slip in February.

The crossing has become increasingly popular after Lonely Planet said it was a must-do experience and it has been called ‘the next Tongariro Alpine Crossing’.

The slip has closed the Holly Hut Track, but trampers are still able to walk the crossing via a detour which adds an hour or two to the trek.

DOC senior ranger Dave Rogers said the slip was unstable and DOC was still investigating whether the track can be repaired or if it will need to be rerouted.

“There’s still debris perched up high above the track, so it’s too risky to open for summer,” Rogers said. “It’s not going to be a simple fix.”

DOC is conducting a lidar and geotechnical survey of the affected section of track over the next eight months.

Ordinarily, the crossing can be completed as an 18km day walk, or as a two-day loop via Holly and Pouakai huts, with spectacular views of Mt Taranaki from the Pouakai Range.

The slip occurred less than a year after the government announced $3.4m to upgrade the track to create a more accessible day walk and offer an alternative to the crowded Tongariro Alpine Crossing. DOC plans to promote a day walk from the North Egmont Visitor Centre to the Mangorei Road end and rebuild sections of the track to reduce its length to 15.9km.

This year, the government announced a further $13.3m to extend the track to Oakura Beach, creating a new multi-day walk as part of a $23m project with local councils and the NZ Tourism Association.