Just quickly, this 5 minute Close Up report clearly demonstrates what’s wrong with the Tongariro Crossing right now, and why probably nothing’s going to change until there’s an unexpected storm that wipes 50 tourists off the mountain. Hopefully that change, assuming it occurs, revolves around more effective education of tourists by whatever means are appropriate, and does not involve restricting the freedom of people to explore conservation land on their own terms. [Update 8th May 2012: I've put some thoughts on the latest Tongariro Crossing accident over here.]
I think this problem is caused by a combination of things, notably:
- The Tongariro Alpine Crossing (formerly the Tongariro Crossing) is often advertised as the best daywalk in New Zealand, and something that must be done.
- For many tourists to New Zealand, it’ll be their first experience, their only experience or one of very few outdoor experiences, meaning they’re unlikely to have appropriate clothing and gear.
- Tourists often come to New Zealand from places with very different conditions to New Zealand’s alpine conditions, possibly through tourist trails of other countries where it’s more difficult for tourists to get to dangerous places unsupervised, and aren’t prepared for what to expect, possible sudden changes in weather or other dangers.
- Some people set aside a specific day to walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, and arrange and book other parts of their trip around this date. If the weather isn’t appropriate on the day they’ve chosen, the go anyway.
To demonstrate the changeability of the weather, these two photos were taken less than an hour apart during November 2007.
I realise I’m 4 months late with posting this link. I’m afraid I don’t watch much television.