Tongariro National Park is located in the central North Island of New Zealand. It is about four hours drive from both Wellington and Auckland. State Highway 1 runs past the park and joins these two cities.
It is the oldest national park in New Zealand and is of significant Maori interest as well as an intriguing volcanic region. Other features include beautiful lakes, forests and barren landscapes.
The park was gifted to the people of New Zealand in 1887 by the chief of Ngati Tuwharetoa, Te Heuheu Tukino IV. The park has historic and cultural significance for the Tangata Whenua, the people of the land.
Hiking (or tramping as it's known in New Zealand) is the main activity in the park. Although the park is well visited, it is easy to get away from it all on one of the many tracks in the park. It also home to one of the most famous day hikes in the world - The Tongariro Crossing. The park has numerous huts for those who wish stay overnight in the park. There are various multi-day hikes available with tracks crisscrossing the park. The famous Great Walk, the Tongariro Northern Circuit, is very popular and takes four days to complete a circuit around Mt. Ngauruhoe.
During the winter the area becomes a mecca for ski and snow board enthusiasts on the North Island. There are two ski-fields, Whakapapa and Turoa, and these get very crowded during winter weekends.
There is plenty of accommodation in the towns of Turangi, National Park and Ohakune near the park. Within the park, at Whakapapa Village, there is a full range of accommodation from campsites, through motels up to a luxury hotel, the Grand Chateau.