Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Taranaki mountain road closed

Taranaki Maunga’s Around the Mountain Circuit has been closed until further notice due to severe storm damage and constant erosion with sections of track which have been wiped out in recent weeks, the Department of Conservation (DOC) announced today.

DOC staff made the call to close the Stony River/ Hangatahua Route along the Around the Mountain Circuit last week after assessing storm damage to the area. The closure of the route means trampers cannot complete the full circuit.

“The route has become unsafe for trampers due to erosion and the ongoing risk of rock fall,” says DOC’s Taranaki Operations Manager, Gareth Hopkins.

“Access from the Bells Falls junction (near Holly Hut) through to Kahui Hut is closed. This will impact trampers attempting the Around the Mountain Circuit.”

Although the closure will disappoint some visitors to Egmont National Park (proposed to be known as Te Papa-Kura-o-Taranaki), the risk of serious injury to trampers is significant. Currently it is not possible to reroute or repair the track, said Mr Hopkins.

The closure will be reviewed in six months when DOC has carried out further assessment work to determine if a repair is feasible.

“We urge the public to stay off this track. The park has a range of other tramping and day walk options for visitors to enjoy,” Mr Hopkins said.

The western and southern side of Taranaki Maunga is particularly prone to severe erosion, flooding and lahars leading to track damage.

Trampers are urged to check for up-to-date track conditions on the DOC website and ensure they are aware of weather forecasts – and be adequately prepared – before setting out.

Staff at DOC’s Visitor Centres can assist with information and advice.

The Around the Mountain Circuit receives about 1000-2000 visitors a year. It is considered suitable for experienced trampers with good back-country skills. It is not recommended for inexperienced or novice trampers.

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