Getting through a Volcanic Eruption
Volcanic risk in Tongariro National Park
Find out about volcanic hazards in Tongariro National Park, how to reduce risk when visiting, and what to do in the event of an eruption.
Tongariro National Park is an active volcanic area. Eruptions can occur with little or no warning. The closer you are to the Park’s active volcanic vents, the higher the risk you are exposed to.
A network of volcanic monitoring equipment and warning systems mitigate risk but cannot guarantee your personal safety. You are responsible for deciding the level of risk that is acceptable to you and planning your visit accordingly.
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What to do before you go
- Check the current status of the volcanoes in the park and follow the risk reduction advice at appropriate DOC Risk Management Stage (see above).
- Know where the volcanic hazards zones are.
- Check the webpages of DOC tracks you plan to use for any closures and additional safety advice.
- Know the eruption advice for Whakapapa Ski Area or Whakapapa Village if visiting these areas.
- Consider whether you're comfortable with the volcanic risk associated with your trip. If you are not comfortable, visit somewhere outside the Park's volcanic hazard zones.
How to stay safe in an eruption
- Move immediately away from the eruption site, staying out of valleys
- If you’re in a valley, move sideways to higher ground (a ridge top) – a fast moving volcanic mud flow like a flash flood (a ‘lahar’) is possible.
- If you see flying rocks, or a steam and ash cloud coming towards you, take shelter behind a bank or ridge and cover your head with your pack.
- If you are in Whakapapa Ski Area or Village, follow the below instructions
Eruption advice for Whakapapa Ski Area and Whakapapa Village
Lahars are the main volcanic hazard at Ruapehu. There are lahar warning systems that warn visitors when an eruption has occurred, and a lahar is possible. Sirens and voice messages will sound in specific areas to warn visitors.
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