Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Pin It Share

Tongariro National Park in New Zealand

Rate this post

A wonderful place for explorers and wildlife enthusiasts, Tongariro National Park is New Zealand’s oldest national park. Contrasting topography of volcanic plateaus and mountain peaks dominates the landscape. The worth of this National Park transcends beyond flora and fauna. It is one of the rare sites in the world that is significant both for its natural and cultural heritage. The landlocked national park is of great religious importance to the Maori people.


This beautiful landscape and homeland of Maori tribe was given as a gift to the country. It was established in 1887 as the fourth national park in the world. Later in 1991, the place was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Activities at Tongariro National Park

Hiking, camping, and climbing in summer and skiing and snowboarding in winter are most popular activities within the park.

Tramping and Camping – For those who prefer to explore on foot, Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro Alpine Crossing, and Mangapurua walkway are among the great walks in Tongariro National Park. The Park also has a wide range of short hiking trails.

Skiing – A paradise for skiers in New Zealand, this park features ski-club huts and lifts for skiing. Each covering an area of about 5 sq. km., Whakapapa and Turoa, are two of largest ski resorts in New Zealand.

Kayaking and Water Rafting – Hop into a kayak on New Zealand’s third longest river – Whanganui – to unravel the tales of this park. The Tongariro River is the place to go for trout fishing and water rafting.

Sightseeing – From volcanic craters and rare bird species to green-coated Pahautea trees, every moment in the park throws surprises.

Mountain Climbing – For sincere mountain climbers, it takes takes two days to climb all the three mountains: Mt. Tongariro, Mt. Ngauruhoe, and Mt. Ruapehu.

Going on Film Location Tours – Such tours are arranged by tour operators for Emyn Muil rocks in the park where the famous trilogy of the Lord of the Rings was filmed.

Nearby Attractions

Whanganui National Park, Lake Taupo, Lake Rotoaira, Kaimanawa Forest Park, Pureora Forest Park, and Kaweka Forest Park.

Where is Tongariro National Park ?

The National Park is located at the central region of North Island in New Zealand. The Tongariro National Park Visitor Center, located in Whakapapa Village, is the gateway to the Park.

Location Map of Tongariro National Park

How to Reach?

By Air – The airport in Waiouru town is closest to the Park. It is 25 km from the Mount Ruapehu and connected with State Highway 1 via Shawcroft Road.

By Train – If you prefer the beautiful canvas of countryside, the National Park Railway Station in the village of National park is the best option to reach the Tongariro National Park. Okahune Station is another option available.

By Road – The Tongariro National Park is connected by Highway 46, 49, 1, and 47 and 4 in North, South, East, and West respectively. On State Highway 49, Okahune is the nearest town from this park. It is the main hub for skiing in winters.

Best time to visit

Winter lasts from June to early November. During this season, heavy snowfall makes the setting conducive for skiing and snowboarding. From December to May, spring injects a colorful life to flora and fauna of the National Park. This is the best time to enjoy hiking, tramping, and kayaking adventures.

Accommodations near Tongariro National Park

A wide range of staying options is available on the State Highway 48. For premium accommodations, opt for Chateau Tongariro Hotel, Powderhorn Chateau, The Park Hotel Ruapehu, Manuka Lodge, and Tongariro Suites @ The Rocks. Budget accommodation options are Skotel Alpine Resort, Tussock Grove Boutique Hotel, and The Hobbit Motorlodge.

Name of Hotel Website Type Address
Chateau Tongariro Hotel 2-star Private Bag 71901, State Highway 48, Tongariro National Park 3951, New Zealand,
Powderhorn Chateau 4-star 194 Mangawhero Terrace, Ohakune 4625, New Zealand,
The Park Hotel Ruapehu 3-star 2/6 Millar St,National Park 3948,Ruapehu,New Zealand,
Manuka Lodge Bed & Breakfast 18 Manuka Street, Ohakune, New Zealand,
Tongariro Suites @ The Rocks 4-star 27 Hutiwai Road, Horopito 4696, New Zealand
Skotel Alpine Resort 3-star Whakapapa Village, SH 48, PO Box 30, Ngauruhoe Place, Mt Ruapehu, New Zealand
Tussock Grove Boutique Hotel 3-star 3 Karo St, Ohakune, New Zealand 4625,
The Hobbit Motorlodge 4-star The Hobbit, Corner of Goldfinch and Wye Streets, OHAKUNE, New Zealand,


Lemongrass, The Cyprus Tree Restaurant & Bar, Alpine Wine Bar & Restaurant, and Fergusson’s Cafe are preferred dining options for travelers.

Facts about Tongariro National Park

  • With the respective heights of 2797, 2291 and 1968 meters, Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro are fairly large and active volcanoes.
  • Many sacred sites of Maori people are present in the park.
  • State Highway 6 passes along the eastern edges of the National Park.
  • The Park encompasses an area of 796 sq. km. Most of the area is covered in Ruapehu District.
  • The Tongariro Power Scheme, initiated to preserve natural resources and collect water, passes through Rangipo and Tokaanu power stations and eventually lands in Lake Taupo.

Things to Remember

  • Visiting hours for this National Park are 8:00 am. to 5:00 pm. throughout the year.
  • While climbing, take enough rest to adjust and avoid altitude sickness.
  • It is best to stay clear of avalanche-prone terrain in peak winters.
  • Be aware of recent weather updates and pack enough provisions along with navigational devices during backpacking in remote areas of the Park.
  • Please follow warning signs posted near Volcanic Hazard Zone.

National Parks in New Zealand


Image Credit : Jeffrey Pang

Published On: Thursday, September 17th, 2015