Top Ten New Zealand Classic Adventures

Tramp the Tongariro Circuit
New Zealand's Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park (New Zealand Tourism)

The Tongariro Northern Circuit is an easy-to-follow, spectacular alpine route that takes in the best of the area's natural phenomena. Tongariro National Park, where the trail is located, is a surreal wonderland with active volcanoes, boiling mud pools, fumaroles, and sulphurous pits alongside tussock grassland and the country's only desert. Three volcanoes make up the core of this park—the mountains of Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe are active, but Tongariro is extinct.

The Circuit is a four-day tramp through this park—also the volcanic center of the North Island. As a bonus it includes the Tongariro Crossing, regarded as the best one-day walk in New Zealand because of the views it offers of craters, steaming lakes, and volcanic formations along the route. If the weather is in your favor (or if you have an ice ax or skis in winter), add an ascent of smoking Ngauruhoe to the agenda. But be warned: It's a long run down.


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