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Boldly rising from the plains, the volcanoes of the North Island's central plateau command attention.
To enjoy this scenic wonder it's not even necessary to leave the comfort of your car. The volcanic loop circles all three volcanoes — Mt Ruapehu, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro — as part of the Tongariro National Park.
This scenic and memorable day trip provides views of the mountains, its thermal villages, the surrounding farm and tussock lands, and the desolate plains of the Rangipo — all gifted in 1887 by the great chief Te Heuheu Tukino IV, for the people of New Zealand to enjoy.
For a close encounter with these sleeping giants, try hiking, skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking amongst its diverse landscape — a heady mix of herb fields, rainforest, alpine lakes, waterfalls, desert-like plateaus and hot springs.
During the winter, Mt Ruapehu's slopes provide hours of enjoyment at the Whakapapa and Turoa ski fields.
In the summer, take a guided trek to Ruapehu's volatile crater rim or hike the Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand's most popular day hike. You can also catch a ride on a chairlift and enjoy lunch at the most elevated café in the country and admire the view.