Definitive Guide to the Tongariro National Park

Image credit: National Parks NZ

New Zealand is quickly becoming one of the hottest tourist destinations in the world. It brings to the table a mix of friendly locals with rich cultural backgrounds, outstanding green landscapes, and a low cost of living which translates into economical travel.  Because of this, New Zealand has become highly rated for many visitors.

There is one place that is centrally located on the northern island of the country that has transformed into a world renowned travel destination for people that are seeking a mix of serenity and adventure. That place is the Togariro National Park.

The Togariro National Park is the oldest national park in New Zealand. The park was founded in 1883, and has since become a dual world heritage site.  The massive 80,000-hectare park is famous for its adventurous day trips and breath-taking natural beauty.

How to Get There

The park is located 330km south of Auckland and can be reached via car quite easily. For those travellers that are not from the area and do not wish to rent a car, taking the bus is the easiest and most cost-effective way to go. Buses depart from downtown Auckland and will travel directly to the park. The travel time is approximately 7 hours.

Where to Stay

There are quite a few choices for accommodation near Togariro National Park. There is everything from backpacker hostels to luxury lodges, and everything else in between. Although hostels seem to be a popular option for budget-minded travellers, they do not offer much privacy and the quality is usually quite low.

For those interested in staying in a luxury accommodation at a reasonable rate, the best hotel is The River Birches Luxury Lodge in Turangi. The Lodge provides secluded riverside rooms tucked away inside of private gardens. The lodge is also ideally located on the southern edge of Lake Taupo.

Where to Eat

While enjoying the spectacular attractions at Togariro National Park, visitors are sure to work up quite an appetite. There is an abundance of eating options in the park including: bars, restaurants, cafes, and fast food joints.

The favorite place for locals to eat in the park is at Basekamp bar and restaurant. It has a great selection of gourmet food and is located in the National Park Village.

What to Do

There are so many great activities to try out when visiting the park, but there are 5 of them that stand out over the rest.

  1. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing:  the park contains three active volcanoes which makes it a perfect place to go trekking. This particular day trek, hailed as the best in New Zealand, will take you over volcanic calderas, through pristine alpine forest, and to hidden blue and emerald lakes. This unforgettable journey can be done in around 8 hours and is around 19km in length.
  2. Skiing and Snowboarding on Mount Ruapehu: this mountain is home to 2 very large ski areas. Both are equally exciting, but beginners are advised to try out the Happy Valley located in the Whakapapa area. This is the perfect place to get in a few ski lessons and hit the white powdery slopes of Mount Ruapehu.
  3. Fly fishing on the Tongariro River: this river is home to numerous rainbow and brown trout, 50 thousand of which migrate their way up the river out of Lake Taupo every year. This makes the Tongariro River the perfect place to spend the day reeling in some trophy fish.
  4. Hunting in Turangi and Taupo: the park is also a hunter’s paradise with its abundance of Sika deer in the region. These deer have become quite legendary for local hunters due to the exhilarating fun of chasing down these bucks in hopes of bringing home a world class trophy.
  5. Mountain biking:  the park is also home to several biking trails that twist and turn through some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable. There are different tracks for all levels of endurance, and some are even smooth enough for the entire family to join.

The Togariro National Park is one of the few places on Earth in which you can enjoy such stark contrasts in nature in very close proximity to each other. This makes visiting the park a memorable experience that will stay with you for a life time. Overall, the park is a must-visit destination in northern New Zealand.

Author: Araluen Centre

Araluen Centre are a high-quality art and travel blog with creative contributors from all over the world.