Tongariro hikers who park for longer than four hours at the start of the crossing will now have their wheels clamped.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has introduced a four hour parking restriction to try and stem the problem of overcrowding on the hugely popular walk – one of New Zealand’s nine ‘Great Walks’.

DOC say the vehicle crowding at both ends had adversely impacted on people’s enjoyment of the hike and forced the implementation of this measure.

It’ll mean people planning to hike the entire Tongariro Alpine Crossing this summer – from October 21 to April 30, 2018 – will now have to pay for one of the shuttle bus services to get to the start of the track.

However, they can still leave a vehicle at the end of the track. It takes around eight hours to hike the entire crossing.

It won’t impact those wanting to enjoy short walks, but it’s outraged some local trampers.

Hiker Katie Kaliniak said the decision was “very, very disappointing”.

“When my husband and I did it, our shuttle bus ran 45 minutes to 1 hour late leaving and we vowed the next time to drive so that we could start our tramp on time. A big shame this is where it’s heading.”

DOC operations manager Bhrent Guy said they were trying to make the Tongariro Crossing an enjoyable experience for everyone.

They couldn’t make more car parks in the area so he warned people to abide by the parking restrictions or there would be action taken.

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