It’s exciting to be able to say that the summer is upon us because it also means it’s nearly the season for summer activities in Tongariro. While there is something unique about all four seasons here in Tongariro National Park, summer is when the options for outdoor activities really open up.
With summer comes calm, warm and more predictable weather, allowing us to partake in a wider range of outdoor adventures. From water activities to full-day unguided hikes, there is so much to do here during summer.
Summer in Tongariro National Park lasts a little longer than what we typically define ‘summer’ to be.
For activities that are only open during the summer season, this usually means they run from about November to the end of April.
Now that we’re approaching the end of October, we’ll all begin planning our summer adventures.
Stand up paddleboarding on Lake Otamangakau
Our friends at My Kiwi Adventure only offer their stand up paddleboarding experiences between November and April. This is an incredible summer activity that will leave you in awe of our stunning region.
Paddleboarding on Lake Otamangakau offers a completely different perspective of Tongariro National Park. At 616 metres above sea level, this is New Zealand’s highest guided paddleboarding adventure.
A guide will be paddleboarding near you the whole time and every paddleboarder is given a lesson on basic technique before setting out onto the water. Lake Otamangakau is very calm, offering the perfect conditions for paddleboarders of all skill levels. Each person is given a beginner-level board so your chances of falling into the lake are very slim.
All equipment and transport to and from the lake are provided.
If you want to go a step further, head out for a sunrise or sunset paddle. This experience is truly breathtaking as you glide on this glassy lake surrounded by the colourful hues at the most beautiful times of the day.
River Rafting on the Tongariro River
The Tongariro River is sourced by a number of hill ranges including Mt Ruapehu. While the water is fresh and crystal clear, it is also very cold and it’s only during summer that you’d consider taking a dip!
If there’s one thing we know about river rafting, it’s that you get wet. And, while there are plenty of daring people out there who love a good winter rafting adventure, for most of us, it’s something we’d rather enjoy in the summer.
There are various companies who offer river rafting experiences and all of them are equipped with expert guides who know the river extremely well. There is a range of options to choose from when booking your river rafting adventures such as family floats on low-grade whitewash or heart-pounding journeys over roller coaster rapids. Whatever package you choose to go with you will be in safe hands on the Tongariro River.
Each rafting company offers a number of additional extras, taking care of you throughout your river rafting experience.
Kayaking on the Whakapapa River
The best thing about summer activities in Tongariro is that most of the time, no experience is required to enjoy them. This is definitely the case with kayaking adventures on the Whakapapa River.
Whakapapa kayaking adventures run between October and May. These trips are safe, fun and enable you to see parts of the region that are harder to access. While the half-day journeys mostly consist of gliding on smooth, calm water, you’ll encounter a thrill or two going over some low-grade rapids.
Whakapapa adventure kayaks are fully-guided and provide all necessary equipment for a fantastic few hours on the beautiful Whakapapa River.
Ride the Sky Waka gondola
The exciting addition of the Sky Waka this year has opened the doors to summer sightseeing on Mt Ruapehu.
The ride itself is something that everyone needs to experience at least once. Float over ancient lava flows, waterfalls and the vast volcanic landscape of Mt Ruapehu on your journey through the sky. This luxury gondola is the largest in New Zealand and its five-star features will have you in awe of how it was able to be built in just over one year.
Now that the snow is on the way out, visitors can catch the Sky Waka for a bite to eat at the country’s highest eateries: the Knoll Ridge Chalet or the Pinnacles Restaurant. Enjoy a stunning meal and take in the expansive views of Tongariro National Park before heading back down the mountain in our glorious new gondola.
Walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
When it comes to summer activities in Tongariro, you can’t go past the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
Between November and April, visitors are able to walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing unguided. As the snow clears from the tracks and the ice thaws from the Emerald and Blue Lakes, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing gets a whole new look in the summer.
Summer uncovers the mountain’s intricate details. The colours from the lakes, the vibrant red volcanic rock, the sparkline alpine waterfalls. Everywhere you turn there is something different and beautiful to feast your eyes on.
While it’s a very popular walking track, it’s important to remember that you’ll be walking 19.4 km through alpine terrain and ascending to 1886 m above sea level. Even though the ice is gone, loose stones can make some parts of the walk slippery.
It’s extremely important to be prepared with the right equipment and to check the conditions on the mountain before setting off.
Every new season brings new adventures and we’re excited to see what summer has in store for us. After such an epic ski season, it has been hard to say goodbye to the snow but we’re heading into another incredible season filled with amazing outdoor adventures.
Take advantage of the summer activities in Tongariro and book your stay with us at The Park Hotel.
Our location is handy to all activities, making it easy for you to make the most of your time in Tongariro National Park. Call us today.