Tongariro National Park, located in the central north island of New Zealand, is an 80,000 hectare world-renowned hiker’s paradise.
Established in 1887, Tongariro is the oldest park in New Zealand, and is also a dual world heritage site. Known for its breathtaking scenery and incredible day hikes, this park boasts numerous natural wonders that are sure to leave a long-lasting impression on any type of traveler.
Some of the more striking features include an active volcanic plateau, impressive waterfalls, luscious rainforests, tranquil lakes, and a wide range of wildlife. In fact, the park features three massive mountains that each has their own unique features.
Mount Tongariro is known for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing which is considered one of the best one day treks in the entire world. Mount Ruapehu is home to two of the largest ski fields in New Zealand and is extremely popular for skiing and snowboarding. And Finally, Mount Ngauruhoe is an active volcano that is actually the filming set for Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movies. With so much to offer, it may be hard to decide what activity to choose. Having considered that, here are the top 5 things to do in Tongariro Nation¬al Park.
For those who are fans of mountain biking, New Zealand is the perfect place to hit the trails. The country sports 7 massive biking trails, two of which are located in the Mount Ruapehu area. The first trail is named the Mountains to Sea- Nga Ara Tuhono. It is 28Km in length, and it traverses down from the central volcanic plateau all the way to the sea in Whanganui. Riders will encounter stunning scenery around every twist and turn during the entire trip.
The second main trail is called the Timber Trail and runs 44Km between the Piropiro Flats and Ongarue. This track is considered to be an easy ride making it fun for the entire family. The course takes riders over newly constructed roads and even large suspension bridges.
These biking trails can be taken on alone, or you can join a tour with one of the many mountain biking tour companies in the area.
Hunting in Turangi and Taupo
This magnificent hunting area stretches out over the Tongariro National park, through the Erua and Tongariro forests, and into the Kaimanawa Mountains.
The area is best known for the local population of Sika deer. These deer roam in massive free range herds and can be quite challenging for hunters to take down. Chasing down these stags will test a hunters’ endurance, but bringing one of these world class trophy animals home will be quite a triumph indeed.
The area is also known by hunters for an abundance of red deer, goats, and wild pigs. However, the weather in this area can be quite unpredictable at times so hunters should be well prepared.
Hunters that want to reach the absolute best hunting spots should hire a professional hunting guide that can get you to the most remote hunting areas via helicopter.
Fly fishing on the Tongariro River
The Tongariro River is considered to be the premier trout fly fishing location in New Zealand. The river is a wide, rapidly flowing river that empties out into Lake Taupo. The river is quite large and flows over a mix of gravel, rock and sand.
The majority of trout that is caught in Tongariro River is rainbow and brown trout. They average about 2 kilos in weight, but much bigger fish can be found in the river as well. There have been some reports of quite massive trout being reeled in along the river.
What makes this such an ideal spot to fish is because every year over 50 thousand trout migrate up the river from Lake Taupo, making the river a prime fishing spot year-round.
Skiing and Snowboarding on Mount Ruapehu
New Zealand, more specifically, Mount Ruapehu, is home to two massive ski areas- Turoa and Whakapapa. These spectacular sites have huge snow-filled basins with steep drop-offs.
For beginners, Happy Valley located in the Whakapapa area, is the best way to get into the groove of cruising down the powdery mountain, without much risk. This is also a great place to take up skiing or snowboarding lessons if you are a first timer.
For those travelers seeking a bit more adventure, head over to the southwestern slopes of Turoa where you can find some of the best natural skiing terrain available in New Zealand.
The best time of the year to experience a skiing or snowboarding adventure at Mount Ruapehu is from July until late October.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing
If there is one activity that visitors should partake in during their visit to the park, it should be the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This 19.4km trek is considered to be one of the top 10 best day hikes in the entire world. The epic journey begins at the Mangatepopo Valley and finishes at Ketatahi road. The trail is considered quite steep in some areas and it may be a bit difficult for beginners.
The entire journey will take around 6 to 9 hours to complete in which you will trek around active volcanic craters, encounter thermal steam vents, and hike through pristine forests with hidden emerald and blue lakes. What makes this route so unique is all of the drastic changes in landscape that hikers encounter along the way.
With all of the spectacular activities available, The Tongariro national park has become a must-visit location for tourists from all over the world. Guests can experience rugged mountain biking trails, adrenalin fueled hunting experiences, relaxing fly-fishing trips, spectacular skiing slopes, and unbelievable hiking trips, all in one amazing location.