Tongariro National Park


Mount Ruapehu, as it greets you at The Station in National Park.


Whakapapa Village is a good base camp for exploring the National Park. For those who can afford it, the Chateau Tongariro is a stylish place to stay.
Mt Ruapehu Chateau Tongariro


Bruce Road winds itself up the slopes of Ruapehu from Whakapapa to Iwikau Village, the ski area.

Pinnacle Ridge

These rocks are remnants from old volcanic structures and date back to about 200000 years.
Bruce Road Pinnacle Ridge

Mangatepopo Hut

Don't be shocked, it's not the hut, but only its restroom. The lower slopes of Ngauruhoe are on the left side, where the Mangatepopo Valley leads up to the Tongariro massif.


According to the signpost, the water emerging from the ground contains carbon dioxide, hence the name "Soda Springs". However, I couldn't find nothing unusual there.
From Mangatepopo Hut Near Soda Springs

Mangatepopo Valley

A glacier carved it out of the volcanic rocks. Today, the bottom again is filling with new lava flows.

Mangatepopo Valley

Red Crater

Iron oxide causes the color. The young crater is spectacular and one of the highlights on the Tongariro Crossing trail. The right photo shows a dyke from which lava once emerged during an eruption.

Red Crater Red Crater

Emerald Lakes

Below Red Crater, thousands of visitors pass by these colorful lakes each year. Touching the water, let alone bathing in it, is strictly forbidden. The lakes contain minerals from volcanic activity - note the nearby fumaroles, but their water is cold.

Emerald Lakes Emerald Lakes

Blue Lake

In this scene the lake is gray and goes along with the sky above. The lake fills an old crater.

Blue Lake

From Blue Lake

From the rim of Blue Lake the view goes across Central Crater to Red Crater, with Ngauruhoe behind. Central Crater is not of volcanic origin, but was carved out by glaciers.

From Blue Lake Red Crater and Ngauruhoe

From Outere Hut

The thunderstorm is over, the sun is setting with the rest of a rainbow still hanging in the air.

Outere Hut

This hut is probably the most interesting on the Tongariro Circle, with both Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu in sight and the nearby Outere Valley as playground for a stroll.
Sunset Outere Hut


The mountain is actually a part of the Tongariro volcano, by rule of geologists. This becomes more understandable when we look at the age: While Tongariro has grown over a hundred thousand years and formed a complex structure, baby Ngauruhoe is just a few thousand years old and was only able to grow to the perfect cone with glacial interference gone.

Ngauruhoe Ngauruhoe


Another complex volcano, which went through many periods over hundreds of thousands of years. On the summit plain is a crater lake with ever changing water temperature, a source of a constant threat of lahars. The last remarkable eruption took place in 1995.

Ruapehu Ruapehu


A blue sky is always welcome as long as you have a hat to shield you from the UV-rich New Zealand sunlight. However, normal weather also includes clouds, rain, and thunderstorms.

Ruapehu Ngauruhoe


Somewhat harder volcanic sediments are left standing by water and wind, here on the ridge above South Crater, with the Outere Valley in the background.


Such daisy flowers decorate the dessert-like volcanic soil in many places.
Erosion Buttercup

Tama Lakes

Two lakes, called Lower and Upper Tama, got blasted out of the volcanic soil a good 10000 years ago. These lakes are worth a day trip from Whakapaka for those, who didn't make it onto the Tongariro Circle.

Lower Tama Lake Upper Tama Lake


Two views of this exemplary volcano. The 2287 m high mountain was very active in the last century, but after 1975 it took a break that is still lasting today. Ngauruhoe featured as Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies.

Ngauruhoe Ngauruhoe


It's the highest volcano in New Zealand with 2797 m and has also distinguished itself with historic eruptions, the last one in 1996. Since the crater hosts a lake during dormant periods, it causes additional trouble producing lahars, not only at the beginning of an eruption, but also years afterwards. The lake on the left photograph is the Lower Tama.

Ruapehu and Lower Tama Lake Bush with Ruapehu

Taranaki Falls

A waterfall about an hour from Whakapapa.

Whakapapaiti Valley

One of the possible lahar routes in case of an eruption from Ruapehu's crater lake.
Taranaki Falls Whakapapaiti Valley


The slopes of Ruapehu are still covered by snow in December, a time that corresponds to June on our half of the globe. This snow is also the basis for the ski areas around the volcano.


From Whakapapa

The Tongariro massif with the dominating cone of Ngauruhoe as seen from the village. The green grass in the foreground is a golf course.

Togariro Sunset

From Bruce Road

Almost the same view as in the image above, but from further on up the road. And in different light.

Tongariro Panorama