- Rach Stewart
TOP 5 PHOTO SPOTS IN TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK
Mount Ruapehu, Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro .. the all enchanting and all incredible mountains that form part of Tongariro National Park. In this blog I will take you to the Top 5 Photo Spots in Tongariro National Park and why you should visit them!
I grew up on the North Island of New Zealand, and it is still my home to this day. Although we don’t quite have the abundance of mountains that the South Island does, we do have this very special part of New Zealand that is rich in cultural significance, powerful in its spectacular landscape, and a place where winter wonderland meets the North Island.
Peter Jackson chose to film parts of the Lord of the Rings movie series here in the Ruapehu district, and it’s no surprise why when you look at what’s on offer. Rocky landscapes, deserted hills, majestic waterfalls and not to forget those incredible mountains.
Perhaps the most famous of the scenes is where Mount Ngauruhoe was used as a stand-in for the fictional Mount Doom. This gained the mountain worldwide attention and Lord of the Rings fans come to visit this area just to see those famous scenes in the flesh. You can also find locations that were used for the Gates of Mordor, Mordor, Gollums Pool .. just to name a few.
Having said that, there is so much more to this region on offer other than the incredible movie scenes.
If you are an adventure enthusiast, then this is where you need to be. If you are into snow sports and love to hit the slopes, then this is where you will find some of the best ski fields in the North Island. If you like short daywalks, bike rides and taking things at a slower pace, the region is full of easy paced activities for anyone and everyone. Whether you are someone looking for an adventure, or a family looking for activities you can do together, this place has it covered.
The people are lovely, the food is great and if you happen to be a photographer or anyone who appreciates stunning scenes, you are winning by coming here!
Having not spent a lot of time here in recent years it was great to come back with @visitruapehu and see familiar sights with much more appreciation and perhaps a different eye. To me one of the greatest things about photography is it forces you to study your surroundings in depth and allows you those moments to really take in a scene and appreciate nature. Ruapehu is the perfect area to do this and I am thankful to have such an incredible natural wonderland so close to home.
I will leave you with some photos from my experience here, and hope that it might inspire you to visit too. I was not able to visit the whole region, but here is a snapshot of the places I visited and some of the fun we got up to.
MY FAVOURITE PHOTO SPOTS IN TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK
SUNSET ON THE ROAD TO MOUNT NGAURUHOE
TARANAKI FALLS UNDER THE MILKYWAY - MT RUAPEHU
Taranaki Falls is a short 2 hour return walk from Whakapapa Village. Even in the dark its an incredible sight. I had seen many photos from this spot but the sheer scale of these falls can not be appreciated unless seen with your own eyes.
THE TAMA LAKES TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK
Stunning views of both Mount Ruapehu and Mount Ngauruhoe in the North Island's central plateau are on the cards with the amazing Tama Lakes New Zealand day hike in Tongariro National Park.
The Tama Lakes Hike takes around 5-6 hours return and is 17km.
For more info check out my blog on everything you need to know about the Tama Lakes Track.
MT NGAURUHOE AS SEEN FROM BRUCE ROAD - WHAKAPAPA
There are some truly stunning views from the Bruce Road which is the road that leads to Mount Ruapehu Ski Field.
There are a couple of safe pullovers where you can park the car and have a look around at the views. Beware in winter and after heavy snow you will either need a 4wd, chains or the road will be closed.
MANGAWHERO FALLS TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK
Mangawhero Falls in Tongariro National Park is a 28 metre drop fall sitting under the magnificent Mount Ruapehu surrounded by native bush and vegetation. The falls have become quite famous as they starred in The Lord of the Rings movie depicting the Forbidden Pool and are only a short 5 minute walk to get to the viewpoint. Access to the falls is off the Ski Road to Turoa and signposted.
A COUPLE OF OTHER FUN THINGS TO DO IN TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK
SKI MT RUAPEHU
If snow sports are your thing, then Mount Ruapehu ski fields have got you covered. Home to two of NZ's top ski fields, Whakapapa and Turoa, with over 65 trails at Whakapapa and Australasia's longest vertical descent at Turoa, all levels are catered for and your days on the mountain won't be disappointing.
www.mtruapehu.com | @mtruapehu
HIKING IN TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK
Book your personal and professional guide for a range of walks through Tongariro National Park with Adrift Outdoor Guiding. There are countless scenic walks throughout this part of the country, with the popular Tongariro Crossing being one of them (pictured above from a previous trip of mine). We had been booked to do a sunset hike on our stay this time but unfortunately the rain beat us to it. Unfinished business!
Thanks so much for reading this blog. I cant wait to return to Ruapehu in the near future and explore a bit more. For more info:
VISIT RUAPEHU TOURISM
www.visitruapehu.com | @visitruapehu