Mt Ruapehu Volcanic Alert Level – 21 Dec 2020

The alert level on Mt Ruapehu has been raised to level two which indicates moderate volcanic unrest.  GeoNet in a statement said the combination of the crater lake having an increased  temperature, volcanic tremor and gas output have led to the alert level change.

“Mt Ruapehu is an active volcano and has the potential to erupt with little or no warning when in a state of volcanic unrest. The Department of Conservation said the area within 2km of Te Wai ā-moe/Crater Lake was closed due to the increased risk of eruption at Mt Ruapehu.

Stewart Barclay, director of Adrift Tongariro Guided Adventures, spoke to Radio New Zealand after taking a group up to the crater lake just two days ago.

“The lake was looking pretty grey when we were up there,” he said. “I remember what [volcanologist] Dr Harry Keys, who I talk to quite a bit, was saying, when it’s grey, it means the vents are opening up a wee bit.

“I was up again on Wednesday prior, and it was pretty grey then. It’s generally quite a lovely milky blue.”

To read the full article click here or to listen to the podcast click here.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Mt Tongariro and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing were not affected by this.  Adrift Tongariro are guiding as normal on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Mt Ruapehu

While Mt Ruapehu has an exclusion zone of 2km from its crater lake, Adrift Tongariro can offer full day hikes on the lower parts and less explored nooks and crannies of Mt Ruapehu. The full day hike to the Stanton Memorial Rock has expressive volcanic terrain with flowing waterfalls over the dramatic bluffs of the Whakapapaiti Valley. This hike is about 5-6 hours over a distance of approx 8kms. 

Stanton Memorial Rock

In August 1931, 14 university students set out from the Chateau Tongariro in fine weather to climb Mt Ruapehu. Blizzard conditions struck while they were at the summit and they descended into the Whakapapaiti Gorge instead of the Whakapapa Valley. The party spent a night sheltering near the rock and then split into three groups. Warwick Stanton and a companion set out to get help, but Warwick eventually succumbed to exhaustion: his body was later found many kilometres west of the Chateau and a memorial that reads ‘In proud and affectionate memory of Warwick Stanton who passed this way in August 1931. Aged 18 years’ marks this spot. The others in the party, some of whom spent three nights on the mountain, all survived.


The staff & management of Adrift Outdoors Ltd take all practical steps to identify & minimise potential danger and we adhere strictly to the alert levels.

Stay at the Alpine Chalets

The Alpine Chalets offer a comfortable and affordable stay with outstanding panoramic views of the Tongariro National Park, the worlds best view of Mt Ruapehu from your bed.

Save 50% off the second night accommodation at Alpine Chalets when booking a full day Mt Ruapehu guided hike, Tongariro Alpine Crossing guided walk or a 1 day Whanganui River guided canoe tour with Adrift Tongariro for two people. Learn more about our summer special with Alpine Chalets here.