Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park (797 sq km) lies in the heart of the North Island. Its major landmarks are three active volcanoes – Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro. These form the southern end of a chain that extends northwest through the heart of the North Island, past Taupo and Rotorua, to finally reach Whakaari (White Island).
National Park Village
This small sprawl of a town lies at the junction of SH4 and SH47 at 825m above sea level, 15km from the hub of Whakapapa Village. In ski season the township is packed, but in summer it’s sleepy despite being a handy base for activities in and around the park. As you’ll discover, it’s railway country around here.
Rotokura Ecological Reserve is 14km southeast of Ohakune, at Karioi (karioi means ‘places to linger’), just off SH49. There are two lakes here: the first is Dry Lake, actually quite wet and perfect for picnicking; the furthest is Rotokura, tapu (sacred) to Māori, so eating, fishing and swimming are prohibited.