Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park looks unlike any other place in New Zealand. Sitting on a high-plateau almost in the middle of the North Island, the landscape is desolate with mostly scraggy bush, only interrupted by occasional native forest and timber grown for logging.
The reason for the moon-like landscape are the three volcanoes, Mount Ruapehu, Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro. Their eruptions prevented and continue to prevent nature to grow like elsewhere in New Zealand.
And despite or maybe because of this, Tongariro National Park is a must-do on a New Zealand holiday.
There’s an abundance of short walks, hikes and bike rides in the area. The most famous of them all is the Tongariro Crossing.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is the most popular day hike in New Zealand, and possibly in the world. Thousands of people set out daily to conquer the 20km and approximately 6 hours long hike past Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe (which is better known as Mt Doom to Lord of the Rings fans).
In Winter (October to June), skiing Mt Ruapehu is one of the most popular things to do in Tongariro National Park. There are two big commercial ski areas, Whakapapa ski field and Turoa ski field, and some small private ones.
Tongariro accommodation can be found mostly in National Park Village, Whakapapa Village and Ohakune and range from backpackers to 5-star hotels.