Tongariro National Park
NZ's first NP; hiking & skiing on mighty volcanoes
When Tongariro National Park was established in 1887, it became NZ’s first national park and the sixth to be established in the world. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site of mixed cultural and natural values.
Local Māori, with great foresight, conveyed the land to the Crown in 1887, in order to prevent the selling of the mountains to European settlers, and on the condition that a protected area was established there.
The park is centred on the mighty volcanoes of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, and Tongariro - and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is considered one of the top day walks in the country.
There are a lot of other walking options though, both short and long, so do some homework before you go.
Mt Ruapehu has ski areas on both its northwestern (Whakapapa) and southwestern (Turoa) flanks, and the new Sky Waka gondola at Whakapapa operates both in winter for skiers and in summer for sightseers and hikers.