Tongariro was the first national park in New Zealand and covers nearly 80,000 hectares. Tongariro holidays give you the opportunity to explore this dual World Heritage area, a status that recognises the park's important Maori cultural and spiritual associations as well as its outstanding volcanic features. It is a place of extremes and surprises, a place to explore and remember, from forests and tranquil emerald lakes to desert-like plateaus, hot springs and active volcanoes.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing track over Mount Tongariro, filmed as Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings, and passes over varied volcanic terrain. You’ll need a whole day to do this, specifically six to eight hours, to complete this spectacular hike. There are also many easy, short walks to take via spectacular waterfalls and fascinating volcanic features and on through a variety of landscapes from open herb fields to magnificent podocarp forest, so it’s worth finding out what different hikes are available to you.
The Tongariro National Park surrounds the volcanoes of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu and features some of New Zealand's most diverse and stunning landscapes. Don’t worry, even though all three volcanoes are alive, there is an early warning system in place that monitors activity and ensures that people are happy to continue enjoying the plethora of activities available in the area, from skiing down the slopes and hiking to the craters. You can go skiing and boarding at Mount Ruapehu's ski areas - Whakapapa and Turoa. And even non-skiers can enjoy some fun in the snow with tobogganing and tubing or just drinking in the spectacular views to be had here. July is when the ski season begins and continues until late spring.
Things to do in Tongariro National Park
For some fun river exploits, the Tongariro River is great for white water rafting. For an invigorating experience, try out the succession of grade three rapids. And fly fishing enthusiasts won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to fish for rainbow trout which are prolific in the park’s rivers and streams.
The Tongariro National Park can be enjoyed at any time of the year, but it’s worth being prepared for all weather conditions, when packing for your Tongariro holiday. Make sure you pack your sunscreen and sunglasses whether you’re planning an adventure in summer or winter and check at the Department of Conservation Visitor Centre for the latest information on weather, track conditions and volcanic activity.