In the heart of the North Island, Ruapehu’s two national parks and surrounding countryside provide a beautiful backdrop to many outdoor adventures.
New Zealand’s oldest national park and a Unesco World Heritage site for both its cultural and natural values, Tongariro National Park is a volcanic wonderland of steaming craters, surreal lakes and strange rock forms, surrounded by alpine gardens. Its centrepiece is Mt Ruapehu –the North Island’s highest peak – that sits alongside the smaller but no less striking cones of Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro.
Taking in many of the national park’s most spectacular sights, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing has justifiably made this place famous, but there are plenty of other hiking trails ranging from short nature trails to multi-day. In winter, Mt Ruapehu’s snowy flanks transform into the North Island’s best ski areas.
To the west is Whanganui National Park, a remote and tranquil wilderness rich in natural and human history. Canoe journeys and jet boat trips on the Whanganui River take visitors deep into its folds, revealing mysteries and marvels such as the lonely Bridge to Nowhere.
Some of New Zealand’s best mountain biking trails traverse Ruapehu’s amazing landscapes. Choose from two Great Rides – the Timber Trail and Mountains to Sea Trail, or countless day rides ranging from family-friendly to formidable.
A wide range of accommodation and visitor services is available in Ruapehu’s character-filled towns, each with a unique outlook over what we call ‘Our Greater Outdoors’.