It’s been an amazing summer so far here in Tongariro National Park. We’ve had visitors from all over the world come to The Park Hotel to experience this unique piece of New Zealand. To get the most out of your stay, we recommend planning to spend a few days with us and, to make planning your trip easy, we’ve come up with the ultimate itinerary for a perfect holiday in Tongariro.
As Tongariro National Park is notorious for its abundance of outdoor activities and adventure opportunities, we know it can be overwhelming to decide on what to do while you’re here.
We’ve made it easy for you.
Holiday in Tongariro – the best on a 3 day jaunt
When you first arrive in Tongariro National Park, there’s no reason why you can’t hit the ground running and get out to see the sights.
Here’s what we recommend on day one.
Take a stroll to the Tawhai Falls
Ease into your stay with a short walk to the Tawhai Falls. We recommend this walk because it’s easy to access, easy to walk through and very rewarding when you see the beauty of the Tawhai Falls.
The track is covered in light gravel and it only takes 20 minutes to reach the falls from the track’s starting point.
You’ll find the Tawhai Falls entry point just off State Highway 48 on your way to Whakapapa Village. It’s clearly signposted and only a 10-minute drive from The Park Hotel.
Have a picnic lunch on the water’s edge
Enjoy lunch outdoors on the banks of the Tongariro River. Here you’ll be among native bush and birdlife as you sit and relax on the water’s edge. The Tongariro River is fresh and clear and glistens beautifully on a warm summer’s day.
Hit the water in a river raft!
Once you’re all settled in, it’s time to head to the Tongariro River.
When you’re only here for a few days, it’s important to optimise your time. There’s no better way to see the beauty of the Tongariro River than on a river rafting adventure.
Tongariro River Rafting offers two white water rafting adventures per day during the summer season, one at 9 am and one at 2 pm. They also offer free pick-ups from National Park. While you’ll navigate plenty of thrilling rapids, you’ll be in the safe hands of skilled, experienced, passionate guides who will ensure you have the best possible adventure.
Yes, you’ll get wet – it’s all part of the fun. All gear will be provided and you’ll enjoy a nice hot drink at the end. We promise – you’ll be grinning from ear to ear.
The full trip takes around 3-4 hours so we suggest doing this at the 2 pm session to squeeze in some sightseeing and a good lunch beforehand.
Stop for dinner at the Spiral Restaurant and Bar
We’ve got something big planned for tomorrow so it’s best to rest up at the end of day one!
Before you head to bed, have a bite to eat at the on-site Spiral Restaurant and Bar. Nourish those bellies after a big day of getting to know Tongariro National Park.
On the second day of your holiday in Tongariro National Park, get up bright and early because you’re about to embark on an extra special adventure.
Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
There’s no doubt you’ve heard of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This famous walk is trekked by thousands every year and it never disappoints!
During the summer, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing can be hiked unguided. While the tracks are free of ice and snow during warmer months, it’s still imperative that you and your group learn as much as you can about the trek and stay up to date with conditions leading up to your walk.
As this is an alpine walking track, conditions can change quickly and you need to be prepared for that.
Find out all you need to know about preparing for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing here.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is 19.4 km and takes around 6-8 hours to complete which is why we recommend setting off early. Just make sure the sun is up!
Considered New Zealand’s greatest one-day walk, trekking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is an experience that will stay with you forever. At the highest point, you will be 1,886 metres above sea level – just imagine those views.
There are so many dramatic contrasts to see on the volcanic landscape. As you ascend through beech forest and alpine terrain, you’ll make your way to the Emerald and Blue Lakes which have formed inside crater formations. During summer, the ice disappears and the lakes’ minerals give them bright blue and green hues.
We provide transport to and from the Tongariro Alpine Crossing starting point. Simply ask reception to book you a shuttle.
Take a soak in the hot tub
After a day on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, the best thing to return to is an outdoor hot tub. We have two large hot tubs to enjoy, so be sure to soak those tired muscles at the end of day two.
Before you head to bed, don’t forget to stop for a bite to eat at Spiral Restaurant and Bar.
Day three of your holiday in Tongariro is a good day to wind down and enjoy some more relaxing adventures. But, before you head home, there is still some epic sightseeing to do.
Take the Sky Waka up Whakapapa ski field
2019 was an exciting year here in Tongariro National Park with the opening of the Sky Waka gondola. This has opened the doors for more summer sightseeing on Whakapapa.
Taking a ride in the Sky Waka is an experience in itself. This state-of-the-art gondola has floor to wall windows – perfect for capturing those 3600 views! With leather seats, onboard WiFi and the ability to travel the 1.8km up Whakapapa in five minutes, the Sky Waka is a true feat of construction.
If you want to see all of Tongariro National Park, we highly recommend a trip up Whakapapa in the Sky Waka.
Have lunch among the clouds
The Sky Waka will drop you off just outside the Knoll Ridge Café. Makes sense to stop and have a bite to eat here at the country’s highest eatery, right?
The Knoll Ridge Café has been designed to get the best possible views while you enjoy your lunch. As you sit 2,020 metres above sea level, you’ll see panoramic views that extend to the far corners of Tongariro National Park.
The food is excellent and the views are truly breathtaking. This is the perfect way to end your holiday in Tongariro National Park.
We are passionate about Tongariro National Park. The heritage, the landscape and the many adventures make the area such a special part of New Zealand. We hope that everyone who visits The Park Hotel gets to see the best in the region.
A holiday in Tongariro is truly like no other. We have all the inside knowledge of where to go, what to do and we love to share this with our guests.
If you’re thinking of taking a trip to Tongariro National Park, check out our three-day itinerary.
We know that these experiences will make your holiday in Tongariro something to remember forever and we provide the perfect accommodation to see it all with ease. Call us today to book.