Tongariro National Park
Established in 1887, Tongariro National Park is New Zealand's first National Park, and the fourth National Park to be created in the world.
Tongariro National Park has gained international significance by being awarded UNESCO Dual World Heritage, a status which recognises the park's important Maori cultural and spiritual associations as well as its outstanding volcanic features.
The park is home to the famous 19.4km Tongariro Alpine Crossing, the best day walk in New Zealand and one of the best walks in the world. The trek is tough and the weather unpredictable but the rewards and the sense of accomplishment are well worth it. For those who have already conquered the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, there are many other walks in the Tongariro National Park to enjoy.
The Tongariro National Park has also gained much fame after the release of the Lord of the Rings trilogy as one of the mountains in the park, Mount Ruapehu, is the forbidding Mount Doom in the movies.
The Tongariro Region is one that has great significance to the Maori people. The park was originally gifted to New Zealand by Maori Chief Te Heuheu Tukino IV. According to one legend the high priest Ngatoroirangi was frozen in a snowstorm while exploring Tongariro and called to Hawaiki, the traditional Polynesian homeland of the Maori, for fire. His prayer was answered, via the channel we now call the Pacific Rim of Fire, and the mountain erupted.
Stunning video of timelapse footages taken around the Tongariro National Park
By far the best video we've seen so far. Proudly taken by a local.
Tongariro National Park is over 18 kms in length and is dominated by the three volcanoes of Mount Ruapehu (2797m), Mount Ngauruhoe (2291m) and Mount Tongariro (1968m). The region has been formed by many volcanic eruptions over the last 300,000 years; as well as glaciers from the last ice age. This has created surreal colours, landscapes and textures.
The lower slopes of the mountains are covered in forest; and are home to many native birds, as well as short and long tailed bats, New Zealand's only native mammals. Today the region is popular with both hikers, and in winter skiers.