Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park is a comfortable drive from Alexander Spa Motel. The park offers visitors a wide range of outdoor activities to choose such as skiing, snowboarding, tramping and walking, sledging, tobogganing, sightseeing, scenic flights, horse riding etc.
The park is approximately 80,000 hectares in size. Its most well recognised activity is the ‘Tongariro Alpine Crossing’, a one-day trek that traverses the other worldly terrain along the slopes of all three mountains. Steaming craters, old lava flows and thermal lakes make the walk an unforgettable experience.
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. Emerald lakes, alpine meadows and hot springs surround the largest volcanoes in the North Island, offering an environment of stunning diversity.
The park was gifted to the nation by Maori chief Te Heuheu Tukino IV in 1887. Just over a hundred years later, the park was awarded dual World Heritage Site status.
Tongariro National Park is extremely popular with visitors of all inclinations whether it is tramping, walking, cycling or just want to enjoy stunning and unique scenery.
The main activities are hiking and climbing in summer, and skiing and snowboarding in winter at Mount Ruapehu and Mount Tongariro especially. There is also opportunity for hunting, game fishing, mountain biking, horse riding, rafting and scenic flights. Mount Tongariro and its surroundings are one of the several locations where Peter Jackson shot the The Lord of the Rings film trilogy; tours to view these places are commonly arranged by the tour’s operators. Tongariro National Park was home to the most sinister of the Lord of the Rings locations, Mordor, which is the strong hold of the dark Lord Sauron.
The Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre (historically known as Whakapapa Visitor Centre) is located at Whakapapa Village, the main gateway into Tongariro National Park.