RegionAll The Coromandel Bay of Plenty Tairāwhiti Gisborne Hawke's Bay Ruapehu Taupo Rotorua Waikato
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is rated as the best one-day hike in New Zealand. Trek across a volcanic alpine landscape of dramatic contrasts – steaming vents, glacial valleys, ancient lava flows, alpine vegetation and vivid crater lakes, all with stunning views. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is an incredible 19km journey through the Tongariro National Park, a UNESCO Dual World Heritage Park recognised for its spiritual and cultural significance as well as its outstanding volcanic features. The trail takes in some of the most dramatic landscapes you will ever see — cold mountain springs, ancient lava flows, steam vents and the spectacular Emerald Lakes.
Flowing north from the snow-clad peaks of Tongariro National Park, the pristine Tongariro River is one of the world’s best places to catch trout. With three-quarters of a million rainbow and brown trout spawning in the Tongariro River every year, their chances of landing one are pretty good. There are guided white water rafting trips for all ages and levels of adventurousness – from families looking for gentle excitement and a leisurely paddle through lush gorges and native bush, to adrenaline junkies after a thrilling, rapid-shooting ride. The Tongariro River Trail is a rolling, family-friendly track for walking and mountain-biking, with stunning views of the river, Mt Pihanga and Lake Taupō.
Born on the eastern slopes of Mt Ruapehu, the longest river in New Zealand drains Lake Taupō through Taupō town, blasts through a narrow rock chasm to create the Huka Falls, then winds more peacefully northwards towards Port Waikato, south of Auckland. Travelling the Waikato (meaning ‘flowing water’) by river float, scenic boat cruise or jet boat is one of the best ways to experience its power and beauty. Most sections are calm and scenic, while other sections like Huka Falls are turbulent and impassable.
The giant Mine Bay Māori rock carving of Ngātoroirangi on Lake Taupō has been hailed as one of New Zealand’s most extraordinary contemporary Māori artworks. Towering 14-metres above the deep water of Lake Taupō, the carving has become one of the North Island’s biggest tourist attractions. The Mine Bay Māori rock carvings are accessible by boat only, and can be reached by taking a scenic cruise, sailing boat or kayaking trip from Taupō Boat Harbour.
At the heart of New Zealand’s central volcanic plateau sits the largest freshwater lake in Australasia, Lake Taupō. This huge, shining expanse of water, moving between aquamarine blue and jade green, is crystal-clear to a depth of 13 metres. It is home to one of the best wild trout fisheries in the world, more than 30 species of water bird, several types of native fish and native kōura (crayfish). It’s known by local tangata whenua (‘people of the land’) as Taupō Moana, the 'inland sea of New Zealand'. You can enjoy fishing charters, scenic boat tours, waterskiing, kayaking, paddle-boarding and the extraordinary Māori rock carvings at Mine Bay.
Warm geothermal waters from Otumuheke Stream flow gently into the Waikato River at Spa Thermal Park, providing a hot spot where bathers can relax in healing mineral water. Soak under a waterfall or in the natural rock pools whilst taking in the stunning views of the deep green, crystal-clear waters of the mighty Waikato River, New Zealand’s longest river.
You’ll hear the Huka Falls well before you see the them – it’s the sound of nearly a quarter of a million litres of water per second erupting from a natural gorge and thundering 11m into the Waikato River below. This incredible spectacle is the most-visited natural attraction in New Zealand – it’s hard to tear your gaze away from the endless, mesmerising torrent. It’s caused by the Waikato River, normally 100m wide, being forced to narrow to just 15m wide as it passes through a hard volcanic canyon. You can take a jet boat trip or river cruise up to the crystal-blue pool at the base of the falls until you can feel the spray on your face.
A diverse and awe-inspiring landscape born from volcanic eruptions and carved by ice age glaciers, Tongariro National Park is a place of natural wonders and spiritual significance.Tongariro National Park holds dual UNESCO World Heritage Site status that recognises its Māori cultural and spiritual significance as well as its outstanding natural landscape. The three volcanic mountains – Tongariro (1968m), Ngauruhoe (2291m) and Ruapehu (2797m) – are officially active, though can be safely explored. Within the Park is the 19.4km Tongariro Alpine Crossing - considered New Zealand's best one day hike.