As you explore this rugged and otherworldly landscape, you might feel like you’re travelling alongside Frodo and Sam on their way to bring the ring to Mount Doom. Or, you might even feel like you have somehow been transported to another planet - one with craters, emerald lakes and strangely shaped mounds of volcanic rock.
Tongariro National Park is a vast protected wilderness, home to three towering snow-capped volcanoes - Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu. The park was gifted to the nation of New Zealand in 1887 by Horonuku Te Heuheu, the chief of the Ngati Tuwharetoa tribe.
This park has the distinct status of being a “Dual World Heritage Site” - which means that it is recognized both for its geological wonders and its Maori cultural and spiritual significance. It's a must-do on any North Island road trip.
The park also attracts hikers from across the world, to one of the country’s most iconic alpine day walks, The Tongariro Crossing.