The volcanic cones of Tongariro National Park form the ultimate adventure-seeker's canvas. From world-class big mountain skiing to wild hikes across the tops of active volcanoes and mountain bike trails through the very heart of it all, this is a must-do in the New Zealand adventure smorgasbord. The towns of National Park, Taumarunui and Ohakune are your leap pads to adventure in Ruapehu – with quality accommodation, restaurants and bars ready to cater for your every need. Write your own journey in this land of giants ...
Mt Ruapehu is the giant in this landscape with Mt Ngauruhoe and Tongariro adding to the drama. The skifields of Whakapapa, Turoa and Tukino grace Ruapehu's flanks with long seasons that can span from June to October each year. Beneath the peaks lie a series of mountain bike trails through lush forest and alongside alpine rivers that have earned Tongariro National Park a great reputation as an all-year adventure destination.
National Park and Ohakune are both start points for the Mountains to Sea Great Ride – part of the New Zealand Cycle Trail – Nga Haerenga. This 217km epic is a backcountry adventure like no other as it makes its way alongside the Whanganui River to Whanganui township on the west coast. If you're not sure you're up for the whole journey then pick off a few of its parts – like the Fishers Track from National Park, the Ohakune Old Coach Road or seek out the Bridge to Nowhere. You'll get a taste of what's to come with these two and your curiosity will be piqued.
You're also in striking range of The Timber Trail here – another Great Ride in the New Zealand Cycle Trail epic. This trail weaves deep into remote parts of the Pureora Forest Park and links into the historic significance of this beautiful part of New Zealand that can only be accessed by this trail.
The 42 Traverse is another great day ride in Ruapehu – taking riders deep into the native bush-clad valleys north of the volcanic peaks where birdlife and flora steals the show.
Ditch the bike and climb to Ruapehu's Crater Lake or walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing – you'll open your mind to the scale of these giants.
Unwind from your time on the trails and mountains with a thermal hot spring soak at Tokaanu and treat yourself at the many bike-friendly cafés and restaurants in the surrounding towns.
This is a land of giants with alpine-fed crystal clear rivers and thick bushland that time forgot ... come and write your own adventure.