The breathtaking mountains, lakes, waterfalls and forest of Tongariro National Park have made it a UNESCO Dual World Heritage Site. Well-defined walking tracks, suitable for all levels of fitness, are accessible from Whakapapa Village. Maps are available from the Whakapapa Visitor Centre, a short stroll from Chateau Tongariro.
If you’re looking for a gentle introduction to the local terrain, the 30-minute Mead’s Wall Walk passes filming locations that were used for “”The Lord of The Rings”” movies, and the Whakapapa Nature Walk is a sealed loop track once known as the Alpine Garden, with information panels on local flora. Families enjoy strolling through mountain toatoa and beech forest on the way to Tarankai Falls, which spills over the edge of an ancient lava flow.
Adventurous types can take the Silica Rapids Walk on Mt. Ruapehu, a 2.5-hour roundtrip trek through beech forests, tussocks, bogs and bushlines. You’ll also get a view of the spectacular Silica Rapids along the way.