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Tongariro National Park

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Business Type: Most known National Park


Established in 1887, Tongariro was the first national park in New Zealand and the fourth in the world.

Address: Tongariro National Park, Whakapapa Village Manawatu, Whanganui

Phone: view phone+64 7 892 3729



Established in 1887, Tongariro was the first national park in New Zealand and the fourth in the world.

It is also a dual World Heritage area, a status which recognises the park's important Maori cultural and spiritual associations as well as its outstanding volcanic features.

In 1887 Te Heuheu Tukino IV (Horonuku), then the paramount chief of Ngati Tuwharetoa, gifted the sacred peaks to the nation.

To tangata whenua (people of the land) the mountains are a vital part of their history, their whakapapa (genealogy) and legends are venerated accordingly.

Ko Tongariro te maunga Tongariro is the mountain Ko Taupo te moana Taupo is the lake Ko Ngati Tuwharetoa te tangata Ngati Tuwharetoa are the people Ko Te Heuheu te tangata Te Heuheu is the man It is said that their ancestor, Ngatoroirangi (the navigator and tohunga of the waka Arawa) was close to death after exploring this mountainous region.

He called out to his sisters from his pacific homeland, Hawaiiki, to send him fire. The fire came but its passage left a trail of volcanic vents, from Tongatapu, through Whakaari (White Island), Rotorua and Tokaanu, before reaching Ngatoroirangi on the slopes of Tongariro.

The three andesitic volcanoes at the heart of the park - the mountains Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu form the southern limits of the Taupo Volcanic Zone.

Volcanic activity in the zone started about 2 million years ago and is on-going today. Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe are two of the most active composite volcanoes in the world. In 1995 and again in 1996 Ruapehu has erupted in spectacular fashion sending clouds of ash and steam skyward and mantling the surrounding snow fields and forest with a thick film of ash. The land It is a land of strong contrasts.

Chaotic, barren lava flows, winter snowfields, hot springs and active craters can be seen side by side. Its plants too vary considerably, from alpine herbs to thick swathes of tussocks and flax, from the hardy, low-growing shrubs of the Rangipo gravel-field to dense beech forests.

It is a harsh environment for plants; poor pumice soils and volcanic activity slows the development of diverse forests yet some pockets of magnificent podocarp forest can be found. They survived the eruption of Lake Taupo (1800 years ago) because they were sheltered on southwest slopes of Ruapehu.

Fauna Tongariro is home to many amazing native creatures including New Zealand's only native mammals, the short and long tailed bats. Birds you might see during daylight include North Island robins, fantails, parakeets and even a kereru (native pigeon) or two. Smaller, but no less interesting are the numerous insects that live in the park. Tracks and walks Backcountry huts, located throughout the park, are linked by excellent track systems.

One of the best one day treks in the country is the traverse of Mount Tongariro (known as the Tongariro Alpine Crossing). It can be done as part of the longer Northern Circuit, one of New Zealand's Great Walks. There are also many easy, short walks: to spectacular waterfall and fascinating volcanic features and through a variety of landscapes from open herbfields to magnificent podocarp forest. The Rimu Track nature walk at Ohakune and the Alpine Walk at Whakapapa are both wheelchair accessible.

Walks brochures are available from the Whakapapa Visitor Centre and other local visitor centres.

Source: Department of Coservation

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Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre
Whakapapa Village, State Highway 48, Mount Ruapehu

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By  <a href=> jcolman </a> on <a href=>Flickr</a>

By jcolman on Flickr

  • By   jcolman  on Flickr
  • By   jcolman  on Flickr
  • By   jcolman  on Flickr

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