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Electronic signs on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

The Department of Conservation restricted hikers from completing the crossing past blue lake for the summer of 2012-2013 after an eruption of the Te Maari crater on the 21st of November 2012. Mt Tongariro has two active volcanic vents - Te Maari Crater and Red Crater. Mt Ngauruhoe is also an active volcanic vent. There are Volcanic Hazard Zones around all these vents. (View larger (PDF, 105K) (opens in new window)

Ngāti Hikairo ki Tongariro, who have Manawhenua (territorial rights) over these lands, have delared a Rāhui (protective restriction) on entering this area. This upholds a traditional Maori custom (Tikanga Māori) which respects the Mana (prestige) of the Maunga (mountain) and to ensure the safety and protection of all people entering the area.

On the 22nd of October 2013 the Department of Conservation erected electronic signs at both ends of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. These signs are designed to warn hikers of an increase in volcanic activity.

Volcanic warning light the begining

These signs (like international traffic lights) have three lights: red, yellow and green.


Red means track closed - volcanic risk too high for track to be open 

Yellow means elevated risk - volcanic risk higher than normal but track still open

Green means track open - volcanic risk normal but not zero


Volcanic lights at the end of the track

 Your shuttle or transport driver will be aware of the track status.




After a few days of heavy rains the Tongariro Alpine Crossing has been left with a dusting of fresh snow.  The Tongariro Crossing has been closed for a few days with heavy rain and gale force winds.

Tongariro Crossing today


A fantastic view over to blue lake today - thanks to Sarah from Adventure Outdoors Alpine Guide.