Tongariro National Park

A diverse and awe-inspiring landscape born from volcanic eruptions and carved by ice age glaciers, Tongariro National Park is a place of natural wonders and spiritual significance.

Tongariro National Park holds dual UNESCO World Heritage Site status that recognises its Māori cultural and spiritual significance as well as its outstanding natural landscape.

In 1894, it became New Zealand’s first national park, thanks to the generosity of the Ngāti Tūwharetoa people. Ariki (Chief) Horonuku te Heuheu Tukino IV enacted a tuku (act of customary lore) over the mountainous heart of the area, making it sacrosanct to all New Zealanders. The Ngāti Tūwharetoa iwi (tribe) has since partnered with the Crown (New Zealand government) to ensure its continued protection.

The three volcanic mountains – Tongariro (1968m), Ngauruhoe (2291m) and Ruapehu (2797m) – are officially active, though can be safely explored at times of low alert.

The 19.4km Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a spectacular single-day mountain trek through some of the most dramatic landscapes you will ever see.

Within the Park is the 19.4km Tongariro Alpine Crossing - considered New Zealand's best one day hike. The alpine trek will take you through delicate alpine meadows, tussockland, native forest home to many birds and New Zealand’s rare native bats, and a cratered volcanic moonscape dotted with turquoise mineral lakes.

You might recognise Ngauruhoe’s distinctive black cone shape from the Lord of the Rings films.

Mount Ngauruhoe played a supporting role as Mordor’s fiery Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings films. The crater in which it is found has striking deep red and brown/green coloured crater walls, caused by extreme heat sintering and oxidising the iron content of the rocks.

Things to do in Tongariro National Park

There are plenty of things to do in Tongariro National Park including dozens of stunning walks and hikes of varying lengths, as well as excellent skiing, snowboarding and sledding on Mt Ruapehu in winter.

Getting to Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park is easily accessed from both Taupō and Turangi with regular daily Tongariro Alpine Crossing shuttles and guides.

The drive time from Taupō to Tongariro National Park is around an hour, or 20 minutes from Turangi.

Tongariro National Park map

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