DOC is able to manage vehicle access to implement a parking regime at Whakapapa and Tūroa ski areas under section 51a of the National Parks Act. This enables the Minister of Conservation to authorise a person to do anything that the Minister considers appropriate for the proper and beneficial management, administration and control of the park provided it is not inconsistent with the management plan.
Bookable car parking has always been seen as an option to manage visitor numbers, and RAL is legally required to manage car parking as part of our concession, which requires us to regulate traffic movement. DOC supports the implementation of this system as a legal way to manage demand as it will help to reduce congestion and safety risks at both ski areas, and in Whakapapa Village. The public is still able to access Tongariro National Park, just not in their vehicle during the times of the controlled bookable parking scheme, which can be changeable under Covid-19 alert levels. Up to date parking requirements can be checked here.