Sunday, 28 April 2013

Ruapehu

The Ruapehu region is defined by the three volcanoes that stand sentinel over a landscape of tussocked desert, rivers, lakes and thermal springs.



Today the volcanoes are part of the Tongariro World Heritage Park, New Zealand’s first national park. The centerpiece is the snow-capped Mount Ruapehu with, alongside, the two smaller cones of Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro. For skiers and snowboarders, Ruapehu is the site of two of the North Island’s best skifields.

Snow pursuits aside, there are many other outdoor and adventure activities in the region. For mountain bikers, there’s the famous 42 Traverse. The area is popular with hunters and, for trout fishers, the small tributary rivers provide excellent if challenging sport. And then there’s hiking. For sheer scenic incredibility, you must take the Tongariro Crossing This one-day hike takes you from alpine meadow to mountain summit across a surreal landscape of craters, coloured lakes and volcanic rock.

There is plenty of accommodation in the towns around the area with everything from the basic backpacker’s hostels to boutique lodges and the Edwardian grandeur of the Chateau on the slopes of Ruapehu.