Tongariro National Park
From the grandeur of ancient forest, to alpine herb fields and volcanic landscapes, Tongariro National Park boasts a number of excellent walking tracks and climbing experiences. The exciting volcanic nature of this area has always been a key visitor attraction as well as, of course, snow on the mountains in the winter time.
Established in 1887, Tongariro was the first National Park in New Zealand and the fourth in the world. It is a dual World Heritage area because of it’s spectacular landscapes and unique natural features as well as the special cultural significance with it’s spiritual links to the Tangata Whenua (People of the Land), the local Maori people. Whakapapa (pronounciation ‘fakapapa’) literally means Ancestry, Genealogy or Connection to the Land.
Tongaririo National Park is an place of extremes: a place of great tranquility, a place to discover, explore and treasure – from colourful herb fields to lush native forest, from clear blue crater lakes to desert-like terrain, from pure snow covered mountains in winter to boulder strewn volcanoes in summer.
As this is a National Park you will enjoy the scenic and tranquil surroundings which are a world away from the overcrowded and overdeveloped places of the western world. Nevertheless, necessary facilities such as medical centres, petrol stations and supermarkets are still easily located at a number of villages and small towns around. Nearby towns and their distance from Whakapapa Village are: Turangi (49 km), National Park Village (15 km), Ohakune (45 km), Taumarunui (58 km), and Raetihi (45 km).
If planning multi day hikes in the National Park there are a range of huts en-route for shelter at night. Most of the huts are not serviced and very basic, offering no more than bunk beds, mattresses, and heating with some having cooking facilities.