Tongariro National Park Good Place for Hiking
New Zealand is a rather forward-looking place: they were the first country to have universal suffrage; it was a Kiwi who first climbed the highest mountain in the world; and it was a Kiwi who came up with the idea of nuclear physics (ironically, New Zealand is a nation without nuclear weapons). It is therefore no wonder that the island state is one of the first places in the world to have created a national park. Tongariro National Park is the oldest national park in New Zealand and the fourth park of its kind in the world. It was originally donated by the Maori in 1887 to preserve its natural beauty for future generations. Today the park is a paradise for nature lovers and one of the 28 UNESCO mixed cultural and natural sites in the world.
HIKING ON THE TONGARIRO ALPINE CROSSING
New Zealand offers spectacular hiking opportunities, and Tongariro National Park is no exception. In fact, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing was on my List of the best day hikes in New Zealand. It is also rated by Lonely Planet as such, so expect to end up with a number of people interested in fixing their mountain. But don’t worry about it. Instead, focus on the incredible scenery of the active volcanic region as you tackle this 20km one-way day hike. You will pass bubbling pools, be rewarded with stunning views of the highest mountain and the largest lake on the North Island, cross huge crater bottoms and cross volcanic ash cones. It’s a worthy way to spend a day. If you only do one thing in Tongariro, do it!
FIND TOLKIEN MORDOR
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, imagined by Peter Jackson in his film adaptation of the books by J. R. R. Tolkien, served as an incredible advertisement for the landscape of New Zealand. If you are a fan of the movies, you will find that a visit to Tongariro National Park is a bit like entering these picturesque settings. It was here that key scenes of Mordor were shot, the most famous piece of the landscape being Mount Ngauruhoe, the perfect volcanic crater that stood like Mount Doom. If you are looking for a challenge, climbing Mount Doom is a task that lives up to your name!
But Mount Doom is not the only site of the films that Tolkien Fans will recognize. If you know places like Emyn Muil or the Gorgoroth Plains, or if you just want to find a pool where Gollum caught a fish, then Tongariro National Park is for you, furry feet and all.
GO HUNTING FOR WATERFALLS
I love myself very much and Tongariro is not limited to the mountains. There are a variety of waterfalls to choose from, from the roaring fall of Taranaki Falls to the impressive heights of Watonga Falls, to name just a few. These are rarely visited and are a great way to spend a quiet afternoon. And while you’re near Ohakune, you might as well head to this carrot production capital, grab a hot cup and take a look at the huge dummy carrot statue.
ONE OF THE GREAT WALKS OF NEW ZEALAND
So, a day hike on a mountain with a thousand other people is not your business? Don’t worry, New Zealand has it covered. One of New Zealand’s nine great walks is located in Tongariro National Park, and it’s a Doozy. The Northern Circuit is a 3 to 4-day hike that includes crossing the Alps as well as a number of other breathtaking landscapes that will take you from the crowds to the hinterland of this magnificent park. On the way there are cottages for sleeping, but otherwise, they must be very self-sufficient. This is a serious adventure for the more adventurous among you.