Overnight facility use in the Tongariro Northern Circuit : a thesis submitted to the Institute of Information Sciences and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Applied Statistics at Massey University
The Tongariro Northern Circuit is located in the central North Island on the volcanic plateau, and encompasses both Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro. The Circuit has high day and overnight use during the summer season and has been classified as a Great Walk by the Department of Conservation who administer it. This thesis focuses on the summer season use of the overnight facilities on the Tongariro Northern Circuit (TNC) with the intention of providing DoC Management with an accurate and detailed profile of users, the factors that influence use and the problems being generated by it. • Profile of users: This describes who uses the facilities, when they are used, the tracks and directions predominantly used and methods of transportation to and from the Circuit. • Factors influencing use: These include the time of year and week, the weather and the effect of weather forecasts. • Problems: Congestion in huts is discussed, including the related hut design flaws. The thesis makes comparisons with information gathered seven years ago and identifies the changes in the both the user groups and their preferred routes within the Circuit. The profile of the New Zealand users as a group differs significantly from that of international users. These differences are explored. Two models are presented that account for about 80% of the variation in the highly fluctuating overnight use. These models also estimate the effects of weather on use. Three main sources of data have been used in this thesis. They include a survey that was designed specifically—the full process of gaining approval, creating and running the Tongariro Northern Circuit 2000/1 summer survey is presented along with the results. The other two main sources of data include the Great Walks pass butts and the hut wardens' observations of use.