October 19, 2016 Tongariro Alpine Crossing for Labour weekend? Last summer TRM (Tongariro River Motel) received so many negative comments from disappointed tourists after they returned from the Tongariro Crossing. They were complaining about being misled by NZTourism and other agencies over the parking and delays and lack of facilities and severe crowding issues, etc. that we were obliged to prepare something to warn prospective guests in time for 2016/17 summer season. An average day sees 1,000 walking the track. On busiest days last summer it is a complete shambles with over 4000 trampers per day queued on the crossing. The annual number of walkers has increased from 80,000 to 120,000 in the last three years says DOC’s Whakapapa Conservation Services Manager, Paul Carr. The last Tourism Business magazine featured the congestion on their cover, suggesting a new concept of “park & ride”? One proponent of the concept is tourism consultant and former park ranger, Dave Bamford – “Given out tourism growth to key areas, park and ride systems using buses to transport people from a visitor centre or main car park to our highly pressured, special conservation places are a very compelling concept.” Stew Barclay of Adrift Outdoors who hold a guiding concession for Tongariro National Park, says “the car parking is a shambles. On busy days cars are parked up on kerbs and along the road side for several km at Mangatepopo and all the way to the main road from Ketetahi, and that’s with 75% of the walkers travelling by shuttle buses from local towns. It is a dog’s breakfast. TRM promote three other walks in the area with far more options and variety offering a 1 hour river loop walk with views over Lake Taupo, a 2 hour walk around a hidden lake, plus a 2 hour loop alpine walk to a waterfall on Mt. Ruapehu as a far better option – see images below. Another challenging option when summer arrives in January-April is a 9 km climb of Mt. Ruapehu which offers a much more rewarding tramp. i.e. see following video: With Labour Weekend approaching encouraging so many inquiries for the ‘Crossing’, TRM strongly suggest to guests who are determined to walk the 19+ km Tongariro Crossing (it is now on everyone’s bucket list) to plan for week-days outside of popular holidays. We just hate seeing tourists being disappointed.