The two big T’s, Lake Taupo and Tongariro National Park, dominate the landscape of the central north island, lending this region to some of New Zealand’s most spectacular landscapes.

Where is the Tongariro National Park?

The Tongariro National Park lies almost equidistant between Wellington and Auckland and boasts a central location in the very heart of the north island. To the west lies the beautiful Taranaki and Whanganui regions, whilst to the east you’ll find the art deco town of Napier. This prime location means that no matter what your planned route, you’re sure to pass through this beauty spot.

Don’t Miss

  • Catching your own supper on a fishing trip out on Lake Taupo
  • A walk through Waipahihi botanic gardens high on the hill in Taupo, amazing views and wonderful flora to enjoy.
  • The thundering 11 metre high waterfall of Huka Falls
  • Marvelling at the beautiful azure blue waters of the Emerald lake along the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Why Visit Tongariro?

Even the great Lake Taupo is volcanic in origin. It lies in a caldera created more than 26,000 years ago by the largest volcanic eruption the world had seen tens of thousands of years ago. The local iwi (Maori tribe) own the lake but allow freedom of access for recreational activities such as trout fishing, kayaking, skydiving, and sunbathing.

Whilst the south island has long been considered the most beautiful of the two islands, the Tongariro National Park may have you reconsidering those claims. Within the boundaries of the Park are three volcanoes; Tongariro, Ngauruhoe (most recognisable as “Mount Doom” in Lord of the Rings), and the alpine retreat of Ruapehu. The result of all this volcanic activity? Some of New Zealand’s most contrasting and breath-taking landscapes.

Tongariro National Park offers some of the best ski and snowboarding runs in the country during the winter months, and in summer a network of tracks and huts provide a choice of superb walks the most famous of which is the full day trek The Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

Another point of interest is the Maori Rock carving created in the 1970s in likeness of Ngatoroirangi, the navigator who initially lead the Maori to the area, and which was carved to protect Taupo from further volcanic disruption.

How to Get to the Tongariro National Park

As a handy stopping off point in the centre of North Island, there is plenty on offer for those seeking relaxation, but thrill seekers will also find their fair share of adventure.

Its prime location in the centre of the north island makes it easily accessible by all means of transport. The Park is just a four to five hour drive from both Auckland and Wellington and the roads are well-maintained for a relatively smooth drive.

In addition to this, a regular train service passes through the National Park Village and Ohakune. This run three days per week going from Wellington to Auckland and three days going south from Auckland to Wellington. For those on a tighter time scale, Taupo has an airport and daily flights are available to and from a variety of destinations.

So whether you’re planning on spending just a couple of days, or perhaps even a week in the Tongariro region, you’ll have no problem getting out and about.

Ready to visit Tongariro? Get in touch!

Insider Tips

Stew Barclay runs ‘Adrift’ an adventure tour company that specialises in taking guided treks across the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. He has some words of advice for those interested in undertaking what is regarded as one of the top single- day walks in the world.

“This is a fantastic walk but you do need to be in reasonable shape so we advise that you head out on a few shorter rambles at home before setting off on your New Zealand holiday to make sure you get the most out of your Tongariro experience.”

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