Tongariro National Park, located on the North Island of New Zealand. It is a must-see destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The park boasts a diverse range of landscapes and activities, making it a popular spot for hiking, skiing, and sightseeing. Here are some travel tips to help you make the most of your visit to Tongariro National Park:
Sights of Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and New Zealand’s oldest national park. Located in the central North Island, the park is home to three active volcanoes, unique geothermal features, stunning landscapes, and diverse flora and fauna. It is a popular destination for hikers, skiers, and nature lovers who come to explore its sights and experience its natural wonders. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the must-see sights of Tongariro National Park.
Mount Tongariro is one of the three active volcanoes in the park, and its summit offers a stunning view of the surrounding landscape. It is a popular destination for hikers who can choose from several different trails that lead to the top. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a challenging day hike that takes you through a range of different landscapes, including alpine meadows, lava fields, and emerald lakes. The hike takes around 7-8 hours to complete and is best done in the summer months when the weather is mild.
Mount Ngauruhoe is another active volcano in the park and is perhaps best known for its appearance in the Lord of the Rings movies as Mount Doom. The mountain is a popular destination for hikers who want to challenge themselves with a steep climb to the summit. The climb is not for the faint-hearted and requires a good level of fitness, but the views from the top are worth it. If you don’t feel up to the climb, you can still admire the mountain from afar on one of the many trails in the park.
Tama Lakes (Tongariro National Park travel)
The Tama Lakes are a stunning pair of alpine lakes located in the park. The lakes are surrounded by rugged mountains and offer a peaceful and tranquil setting for visitors to enjoy. The hike to the lakes takes around 3-4 hours and is moderately challenging. The lakes are best seen on a clear day when the reflections of the surrounding mountains can be seen in the still waters.
Whakapapa Ski Area
The Whakapapa Ski Area is located on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu and offers skiing and snowboarding opportunities for visitors to the park. The ski area has a range of runs suitable for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, and there are also a range of other winter activities available, including tobogganing and snowshoeing. The ski season runs from June to October, and the area can get busy during peak times, so it’s a good idea to book in advance.
The Tawhai Falls are a picturesque waterfall located in the park. The falls can access via a short walk from the road and are a popular spot for photographers. After a period of rain, when the water flow is at its strongest, the best way to see the falls is by visiting them.
The Emerald Lakes are a set of three crater lakes located on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The lakes get their name from their vibrant green color, which is caused by minerals leaching from the surrounding rocks. The lakes are a popular spot for hikers to take a break and enjoy the scenery, and they offer a stunning contrast to the surrounding landscape.
Ketetahi Hot Springs (Tongariro National Park travel)
The Ketetahi Hot Springs are located on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and offer a welcome break for hikers after a long day on the trail. The hot springs are naturally heated and offer a relaxing and therapeutic soak for tired muscles. Lush vegetation surrounds the springs, adding to the serene setting.
Fly-fishing enthusiasts from around the world recognize the Tongariro River as a top destination for its exceptional trout fishing. The river flows through the park and offers a scenic backdrop for fishing enthusiasts. There are a range of fishing spots along the river, and there are also a range of guided fishing tours available for those who are new to the sport.
Ohakune Old Coach Road
The Ohakune Old Coach Road traces the path of an old coach road that once transported passengers and goods between Ohakune and Horopito, making it a historic trail worth exploring. The trail is now a popular walking and cycling track that offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests. Along the way, you can also see remnants of the old railway line and the historic Hapuawhenua Viaduct.
Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre
The Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre is a great place to start your visit to the park. The centre offers a range of information about the park’s history, geology, and ecology, as well as information on the different trails and activities available. There is also a gift shop where you can purchase souvenirs and a café where you can grab a bite to eat.
Before you visit the park, make sure to research the different hiking trails and activities available. Each trail offers a unique experience and level of difficulty, so it’s important to choose one that matches your fitness level and interests. Additionally, be sure to check the weather forecast and pack accordingly.
Pack essentials (Tongariro National Park travel):
The park’s diverse landscapes mean that the weather can change quickly, so it’s essential to pack warm and waterproof clothing. Additionally, bring plenty of water and snacks, as well as a first aid kit and a map of the park.
Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing:
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of the most popular hiking trails in the park, and for good reason. The trail offers stunning views of the park’s three active volcanoes, as well as a variety of landscapes, including a crater lake, a lunar-like desert, and a volcanic valley. However, it is also a challenging hike, so make sure to be prepared physically and mentally.
Explore the ski fields (Tongariro National Park travel):
The park is also home to two ski fields, Whakapapa and Turoa, which offer a range of ski and snowboard runs for all levels of experience. If you’re visiting in the winter, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to hit the slopes.
Visit the Maori cultural sites:
Tongariro National Park is of great cultural significance to the Maori people, who have lived in the area for centuries. Visitors can learn about the park’s rich cultural heritage by visiting sites such as the Tongariro Wahi Tapu, a sacred Maori village, and the Tongariro Whakapapa Visitor Centre, which provides information about the park’s history and culture.
Be mindful of the environment:
Tongariro National Park is a unique and fragile ecosystem, so it’s important to be mindful of the environment while visiting. Follow the Leave No Trace principles by packing out all of your trash, staying on designated trails, and respecting wildlife and plant life.
Get an early start:
To make the most of your visit, try to get an early start. Not only will you avoid the crowds, but you’ll also be able to enjoy the park’s natural beauty at its best, with the early morning light illuminating the landscapes.
Stay safe (Tongariro National Park travel):
As with any outdoor activity, safety should be a top priority when visiting Tongariro National Park. Be aware of the risks associated with hiking and skiing, and take precautions such as wearing appropriate footwear and bringing necessary equipment. Additionally, be sure to inform someone of your plans and check in with them when you return.
Tongariro National Park Map:
With its diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and range of activities, Tongariro National Park offers something for everyone. By following these travel tips, you can make the most of your visit and experience all that the park has to offer.