Taranaki Maunga’s Around the Mountain Circuit has been closed until further notice after severe damage and constant erosion.
With sections of the track wiped out in recent weeks, the Department of Conservation (DOC) made the call to close the Stony River/ Hangatahua Route along the circuit after assessing the damage to the area. The closure means trampers cannot complete the full track.
“The route has become unsafe for trampers due to erosion and the ongoing risk of rock fall,” said 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.”
The Around the Mountain Circuit receives about 1000 to 2000 visitors a year and is considered suitable for experienced trampers with good back-country skills.
Hopkins said that 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.”
DOC will review the closure in six months after further assessment work is carried out 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,” Hopkins said.
He added that the western and southern side of Taranaki Maunga is particularly prone to severe erosion, flooding, and lahars leading to track damage, which had worsened in recent years.
Trampers are being urged to check for up-to-date conditions on the DOC website and ensure they are aware of weather forecasts and are adequately prepared before setting out.
The 52km loop track, which offers spectacular bush and alpine scenery, is challenging and not recommended for inexperienced or novice trampers. It is best tramped from October to April, according to DOC’s website.