Do you have an appetite for a raw experience? A wilderness New Zealand holiday awaits. Tongariro National Park promises expansive, life-changing experiences across its huge 79,596 hectares of sparkling lakes, jagged mountain ranges, white-water rivers and valleys of golden grass. Haven’t heard of it? Maybe you’ve seen the name, but never really thought about the possibilities… let us take you through five reasons to give New Zealand’s oldest national park a go. One look and you’ll be hooked!
1 – Ski Mt Ruapehu
One of three active volcanos, Mt Ruapehu stands at a respectable 2791m above sea level, transforming work-day fantasies into a wintry reality. Inexperienced? Never touched a ski before or stood on a snowboard? You won’t be left to your own devices, with private and group lessons available daily. Intermediate and veteran snow bunnies won’t be wanting entertainment either, as the slopes offer a range of runs, bowls and challenges for every level.
2 – Walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a hiking experience unlike any other. Let your feet take the lead, letting your eyes wander over the volcanic region, savouring a unique combination of geothermal activity, azure lakes, vibrant sands and glimmering tussocks. Be careful not to be caught unaware by the weather, staying on-top of warnings before setting out and gauging any changes – preparation is the key to truly enjoying this 19.4km trek.
3 – Explore Taranaki Falls
Not quite up to a full 19.4km trek over hills, mountains and craggy outcrops? We have something else – lace up your walking shoes, you’re not missing out just because your short on time. Taranaki Falls is an easy-peasy two hour walk over 15,000 year old lava flows, winding your way through beech forests, before finishing the first leg at the edge of these gorgeous falls. Along the way, you’ll be spoiled with an eye-popping view of Mt Ruapehu, making those photo ops easy without having to delve deeper into the park.
4 – Enjoy a Guided Tour
Although self-directed exploration is a New Zealand essential, nothing beats a guided tour of this dual-listed national park. From Tongariro’s cultural significance to the subtle features of the land, there’s so much to see, you’re not aware of what you’re missing until it’s too late. Red Crate to Blue Lake is always a great place to start – short and sweet, with only a moderate fitness rating, the local insight will change the way you think about this dramatic landscape in just over 30 minutes.
4 – Journey into Middle Earth
As the great Sean Bean once said, one does not simply walk into Mordor… except if you’re visiting New Zealand. Tongariro National Park is the home of Sauron himself, as Mount Doom lords over the region and visitors are invited to suspend their real lives for an hour or two and explore the various filming locations of this volcanic landscape.
Notable Filming Spots: Mt Ngaurhoe (Mt Doom), Mangawhero Falls (Ithilien Camp) and Rangipo Desert (the storming of the Black Gate).
Make time to see the wonders of Tongariro National Park and everything else the North Island has to offer with a custom self-drive tour, designed to your needs and wants. Sound good? Get in touch with Relaxing Journeys today and make tomorrow an adventure.