16 Mar 2013

Ruapehu danger zone removed

6:04 am on 16 March 2013

The Department of Conservation has lifted an advisory recommending visitors not enter Mt Ruapehu's summit hazard zone.

The warning had been in place since November and covered an area within two kilometres of Crater Lake.

The department says temperatures in the volcano's vent system, several hundreds of metres below the lake, have returned to normal and there have been no volcanic earthquakes lately that would raise concerns.

It says while the warning has been lifted for the summit hazard zone, it is important that people remember Mt Ruapehu is a living volcano and heed advice not to go into the crater basin or to the shore of Crater Lake.

Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, which operates the Whakapapa and Turoa ski fields, runs guided trips to the summit.

The company welcomes the decision to remove the restriction, which it says has reduced its business over summer by up to 15%.

General manager Dave Mazey says even though the ski fields themselves were outside the exclusion zone, some customers would have been anxious if the restriction had continued into winter.