New Zealand is internationally renowned for its great walks. Whether you're trekking from Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound along the Milford Track, or you're tackling the journey from Hobbiton to Mordor, you are surrounded on all sides by stunning landscapes and native wildlife (though hopefully not orcs). If you're looking for some of the best the North Island has to offer, contained in one single area, visit the Tongariro National Park and try some of these on your hiking holiday.
Mount Ruapehu Crater Climb
Beginning at Iwikau Village, atop the Whakapapa Ski Area, this unmarked track lasts approximately seven hours. Alternately you can take a chairlift part of the way in order to cut down on walking time, making it a five-hour return instead. The terrain is better for experienced climbers, as it can be steep in places, but the views of the crater itself are more than worth it when you finally reach the top.
Lake Rotopounamu Loop
If you're bringing the family, or want something a little less mountainous, try the 'Greenstone Lake' loop track, starting just nine minutes from Turangi. Circumnavigating the sparkling waters, and lasting around two hours, this great track offers a gentle, relaxing walk with plenty of places to take pictures, stop for a picnic or get the kit off to go for a swim. There are also toilets on the eastern shoreline, should nature call.
Other walks to try
There are, of course, plenty more walks in the area for all levels of skill. The Whakapapa Village walking tracks vary in length and character, from 15 minutes to six hours and through all manner of terrain. Experienced climbers will want to try scaling the summit of Mount Ngauruhoe (perfect for dropping rings into lava), while those with limited mobility can wander around the short Mangawhero Forest Walk.