To truly appreciate the bright emerald lakes, volcanic landscapes and spectacular mountain views of the Ruapehu region, you can't go past Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
This challenging one-day hike is often billed as one of the best in the world. With stunning views of the plateau's three imposing volcanoes, old lava flows and active steam vents. Lord of the Rings fans will recognise the shape of Mount Ngauruhoe, as the mountain that stood in for Mount Doom in the trilogy.
During peak season, the Department of Conservation(opens in new window) recommends that visitors access the track via a shuttle from Whakapapa, National Park Village, Turangi, Taupō or Ohakune.