Tongariro Lord of the Rings Landscapes

Drive Around the Mountains

Tongariro National Park Map

Tongariro National Park

Driving through the spectacular Tongariro Lord of the Rings landscapes within the Tongariro National Park makes for a good day trip from Turangi (2.5 hrs return). The drive down SH1 on the eastern side of the park has the best sun in the morning and the western side from National Park to Turangi can be spectacular in the afternoons as the sun is setting.

There are a number of walking and biking opportunities – in particular the Old Coach Rd. Trail – cafe’s near Ohakune and skiing or snowboarding at Turoa and Whakapapa. There are a range of sub alpine walks at Whakapapa Village, and other highlights from Whakapapa to Turangi.

Turangi to Ohakune (via Waiouru)

1hr Drive

As you leave Turangi heading south on SH1 the Tongariro National Trout Centre, has an interesting history of the world famous Taupo trout fishery – plenty about ecology, conservation and for the kids. Venturing further down the Desert Road to the east you will be treated to views of the Kaimanawa Ranges and the Kaimanawa Forest Park – which has a number of interesting walks and mountain bike tracks – while to your west is the Rangipo Desert, and the volcanoes of Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro. After taking in the Waiouru Army Museum you could choose to continue as a day-trip to the west via SH49 from Waiouru to a café in Ohakune (30min drive) and a side trip to the Turoa Ski Fields (30min drive return to Ohakune) or one of the nearby DOC Okakune Walks.

Ohakune to Whakapapa – (via National Park Village)

45 Minutes Drive

Continuing past Ohakune you would then make a round trip via National Park Village (30 min drive) and into the Tongariro National Park via the spectacular Makatote Viaduct. As an optional side trip head to Whakapapa Village and Whakapapa Ski Field (30 minutes return to SH) – where the chairlifts operate in summer offering great views. There are a range of sub alpine Whakapapa Village walks and the DOC Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre has all the usual maps and some interesting displays highlighting the geology and geography of the region.

Whakapapa to Turangi Riverstone Recommendation

45 minutes Drive

The journey late in the day from via the Pounamu Saddle to Turangi through the Tongariro National Park  is spectacular, and could include detours to the Te Porere Redoubt and Lake Rotopounamu and the Tokaanu Hot Springs – 5 minutes drive from Turangi.

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