Mountains

NZ Bush Tip No. 3

Have a relaxed start to your Tongariro crossing to avoid 90% of the people who set off early!

 
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Central Volcanic Plateau

Three vast, active volcanoes poking their rugged heads into the clouds, surrounded by a massive flat volcanic desert, make for one of the most dramatic landscapes in New Zealand. The Tongariro area was gifted to the people of the country in 1887 by the chief of Tuwharetoa, which saves this spectacular land from being developed and makes it our first National Park. Today it is enjoyed by everyone throughout the year. Whether you are a skier, snow boarder, tramper or just viewing from a distance, it will never fail to impress.

Must experience:

  • The Tongariro crossing is probably the most spectacular one-day walk on the planet
  • Hike to the top of Mount Ruapehu for incredible views of the volcanoes and crater lakes in the distance
  • Explore the vastly different habitat types in the area: beech forests, volcanic deserts, tussock grass and pumice-coated plains
  • Photograph volcanic geology, including vents, crater lakes, dried lava and lahar flows
  • Drive the forgotten Highway from Tongariro to Taranaki

Facts at a glance

  • Mt Ruapehu erupted again on 17 June 1996 after a series of spectacular eruptions in September/October 1995.
  • The Pacific and Indian-Australian plate boundary is almost totally responsible for the existence of New Zealand, and the volcanoes of Tongariro provide a graphic illustration of the power generated by the movement of these plates. The region of volcanic activity occurs from Mt Ruapehu to White Island in the Bay of Plenty.
  • The effects of the ancient Taupo eruption were seen in the sky as far away as Europe. The eruption is the most violent in the world in the last 5000 years.

Accommodation

Inspired by the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, Lake Taupo Lodge blends harmoniously with the lake and forest scenery.
Inspired by the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, Lake Taupo Lodge blends harmoniously with the lake and forest scenery. Seven guest suites, each with a balcony or terrace, promise the highest level of comfort

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