In the heart of the North Island it’s not just one National Park on offer but two of the best in the country, with its surrounding countryside providing 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. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing has justifiably made this place famous. and 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.
The Ruapehu region is one of New Zealand’s premier destinations for adventure offering some of the purest natural scenic beauty of its two national parks with the country’s best one-day walk, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and the ski areas of Whakapapa, Turoa and Tukino making the Tongariro National Park an all year round adventure, providing an endless choice of things to do whether skiing, snowboarding or playing in the snow in winter and spring or hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, mountain biking trails or enjoying fly & spin fishing its many lakes and rivers during summer and autumn.
If you want to just relax in Rotorua, then take a walk around some of the numerous thermal parks each with their own unique thermal activity. From colourful pools, lakes, silica terraces, bubbling mud pools and spouting geysers. For the more adventurous take a helicopter tour to White Island to explore New Zealand’s only active marine volcano.
Take in a round of golf, fly-fish on its lakes and rivers, take a scenic cruise on a paddle steamer on Lake Rotorua, or explore some of the other lakes and the sites of Rotorua aboard the ‘Rotorua Duck’ an amphibious military landing craft which is fun for the whole family. Other attractions include ‘Rainbow Springs Wildlife Park’ here you can feed the trout and see New Zealand’s iconic kiwi. Take a farm tour at the ‘Agrodome’ and see the sheep shearing show.
Rotorua’s most popular attraction ‘Skyline Gondola’ is a scenic ride to the top of Mt. Ngongotata, here you can relax at the restaurant and enjoy a glass of wine from the new Volcanic Hills Winery, whilst soaking in the panoramic views over Rotorua. For those who like a thrill take a ride on the ‘Skyswing’ or a fast paced ride downhill on the Luge.
When it comes to real adventure Rotorua has plenty to offer from white water rafting on the Kaituna river with New Zealand’s highest rafted waterfall ( 7 Mtrs.), rolling head over heels down a hill in the Zorb a huge plastic ball, riding a flying fox through ancient treetops, zooming round a man made lake in a jet boat, the excitement of a bungy jump, riding the ‘Shweeb’ a dynamic suspended capsule that you race round a track by peddling, flying freefall at the wind tunnel and for less scarier activities there’s horse trekking, mountain biking or getting dirty on a off-road 4X4 Quad adventure.
Ensure you have allowed enough nights to experience all that Rotorua has to offer with a host of activities from exploring the geothermal reserves, experience a cultural evening with traditional Hangi, Take the gondola up Mt. Ngongotaha where there is enough activities for the whole family & local wine, Zip through the tree Canopy tours zipline, a host of activities from adrenalin to a little more sedate and at the end of the day take a relaxing soak at Polynesian pools there is something to see and do to suit everyone.
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