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Tongariro National Park


Tongariro National Park - New Zealand
Tongariro, oldest national park in New Zealand, has also been designated as the World Heritage Area. Thestatus grants recognition to the park's important Maori cultural and spiritual associations as well as its outstanding volcanic features. It is a place which is never shy of dropping surprises, a place to explore and remember. From herb fields to forests, from soothing lakes to desert-like plateau and active volcanoes - Tongariro seems to possess everything a tourist wants. The mountains at the heart of the park have cultural and religious significance for the Maori people and symbolize the spiritual links between this community and its environment. The park also diverse range of ecosystems and some spectacular landscapes.

Since its inception, Tongariro park has grown to a size of nearly 80,000 hectares (197,688 acres). The area holds religious and cultural importance for the Maoris who first occupied the area. The Maoris believed that the region's mountains had god-like ancestors, and the core of the park centres around three active volcanoes, Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. Areas are similar to a large extent to a lunar landscape, which has been carved by flowing lava, alongside forests and tussock lands.

Attractions of Tongariro
It is home to many creatures native to New Zealand, including the short- and long-tailed bat, kereru (New Zealand's native pigeon), fantails and parakeets. Visitors to the area can ski on an active volcano, as well as hike through alpine herb fields, passing by waterfalls and emerald-coloured lakes, before reaching spectacular lookout points. The Tongariro Crossing, completed by about 70,000 hikers every summer, is considered to be one of the best one-day walks in the country, offering magnificent volcanic scenery and fine views of Lake Taupo and Mount Taranaki.

Rafting
The Tongariro River is a place recommended by seasoned tourists to experience one of New Zealand's most popular outdoor activities - rafting. A succession of grade 3 rapids makes for an exciting trip for the whole family that's fun and safe. You'll pass through pristine bush and see scenery only accessible from the river. The kids will love it! If you've got young children (under 10) you could try a family float trip down the lower Tongariro. Two operators offer the trip on the Tongariro. All equipment are supplied including wetsuits, and transport can be arranged from your accommodation.

Scenic Flights
There's no easier way to see the region than on a scenic flight. Departing from their base at the foot of Mt Ruapehu or Turangi International Airport, Mountain Air will fly you around Lake Taupo or over the three mountains of the Tongariro National Park. You'll even fly over Mt Ruapehu's steaming crater lake, which last erupted in 1996. The views from 3,000 metres are stunning _ don't forget your camera. Mountain Air also offers a charter service from Auckland and Turangi to anywhere in the country.

Tongariro Crossing
The Tongariro Crossing has been called 'the best one day walk in New Zealand'.It's a strenuous 17km; 8hr hike past Mt Ngauruhoe and over Mt Tongariro. You'll pass over a lunar landscape unlike anything you've seen before, then descend past the Red Crater, Blue and Emerald Lakes and down into beautiful native bush. The fit can summit Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro in the same day, now that's something to write home about! Transport can be arranged to and from your accommodation in Turangi or National Park Village. Mountain weather can change quickly, be prepared and tell someone when to expect you back.


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