Tongariro National Park
The most dominant and breathtaking features of the North Island are the central plateau volcanoes - Mt Ruapehu (2,797 metres), Mt Ngauruhoe (2,291 metres) and Mt Tongariro (1,967 metres). Testimony to the awesome power of nature, they command love and respect from all who walk in their shadow.
To the local Maori, the mountains are sacred (tapu), kin by virtue of common parents but created first and, therefore, superior to man. This bond underpins the spiritual and physical respect held for these ancestral mountains.
In 1887, the peaks were gifted to the New Zealand people by the local Tuwharetoa tribe under the leadership of their paramount chief, Te Heuheu Tukino IV (Horonuku). This made Tongariro the first national park in the world to be gifted by a country's indigeous people and gave rise to one of the world's few dual listed World Heritage parks, in recognition of its natural and cultural significance.
From herb fields to pristine rain forests, tranquil alpine lakes to desert-like plateau, hot springs and active volcanoes, Tongariro National Park is a land of strong contrasts, providing visitors all year round with a unique and remarkable experience.
The dramatic scenery and unique landforms combine to make the world-renowned Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The Crossing is often rated as the best one day trek in New Zealand and spans the length of Mt Tongariro. It takes approximately 7 - 9 hours to complete the 17km trek.