Within the 4 years I've lived in New Zealand for, I've pretty much evened out my time between living in North and South Islands, getting a chance to appreciate the natural beauties both have to offer. They are so so different, with the south offering the alps and endless ridge lines of peaks with lakes at their footing. The North offering great coastal adventures as well as the hub of all things geothermal.
The central North Island region offers unparalleled landscapes, it's no wonder it's been named a dual world heritage area. Yes, I'm talking about The National Park, New Zealand's first national park. It is now often referred to as Tongariro. With 3 stratovolcanoes in plain sight, you'll be asking yourself why you haven't visited this place sooner, it is simply mind-blowing.
You may have watched the Lord of the rings series? If so, you may well find a distinct familiarity between Mount doom and Mt Ngauruhoe.... Yes! Nguaurhoe played the role of Mt Doom and what a perfect choice it was, it's distinct cone shape standing proud and tall against any backdrop. People now come from far and wide to re-live these famous scenes of the LOTR series through their own eyes. It's not a surprise this region was chosen by Peter Jackson for the film, rocky landscapes, deserted hills, majestic waterfalls and not to forget those incredible mountains.
Mt Ruapehu as seen from the Tama Lakes
The Majestic Taranaki Falls
Re-living those amazing on-screen dramas is exciting, but the Tongariro has so much more to offer to it's visitors.
If you are partial to a bit of outdoor exploring, you'll be like a kid in a candy shop here. With adventures to be had all year round, you'll never be at a loss for things to do. The winter months offer the best ski fields found in all of the North island, with plenty of different slopes to try out. Hiking in winter is also an amazing experience, so long as you are experienced in sub-zero temperatures and use of Ice axe & crampons. The summer months provide endless biking routes, day walks and multi-day hiking trips, all the while, you'll have scaling volcanoes looming on your horizon.
I personally have had nothing but amazing adventures here in Tongariro and with that I will leave you with some of my favourite images I have taken from those trips. I can only hope that these images may inspire you to venture to this dual world heritage site one day!