6 Jan 2013

Eruptions not deterring visitors from Tongariro

5:50 am on 6 January 2013

A Tongariro Alpine Crossing tourism operator says recent eruptions have not deterred visitors from coming to the area and business is actually better.

Mount Tongariro's Te Maari crater erupted in August last year and then again in November.

The track from the Te Maari crater onwards has been closed since November, so visitors can only complete half the crossing. On reaching the crater, they have to turn around and come back the same way.

Stewart Barclay, the owner-operator of Adrift Outdoors, says the track can at times become crowded now, but people are still coming, and the number of visitors is up on 2012.

"Last year was a bit soft because of the international economy, but this year I think, with one thing and another, maybe the eruptions have created some good awareness.

"We're up on last year - we're having a nice time of it."

Mr Barclay says with half the track closed, they have offered sunset and sunrise trips for people who want to avoid the peak times.