Tongariro / National Park Village

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Tongariro / National Park Village

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It's probably no surprise that the Tongariro National Park is the most favoured camps location for North Island schools. And where to stay? Look no further than National Park Village, the perfect base for exploring Tongariro National Park and all Ruapehu's other amazing attractions&activities.

Situated on the tussock-covered plains of the volcanic plateau, National Park is a stone's throw from epic walks such as the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and within easy reach of other memorable all-ages' adventures, including mountain biking, rafting, minigolf, climbing and scenic flights.

Get up close to the wilderness, waterfalls and wondrous volcanic features of UNESCOWorld Heritage-listed Tongariro National Park. Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a worldfamous (and NZ's best) one-day walk through crazy old lava flows, alpine gardens full of oddball plants and landforms straight out of The Lord of the Rings. There are stacks of seriously strange volcanic sights, sounds and smells around the Crossing's high tops, including the freaky Red Crater, steaming fumaroles and eggy whiffs of sulphur.

There are plenty of other shorter walks in the national park, including Tama Lakes and Taranaki Falls to get you up close to more spectacular landscapes formed by fire and ice. Many of these start from Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre in Whakapapa village, a great place to learn about the area's fascinating natural and human histories through interactive displays and short films. It's a great place to keep everyone entertained and educated for a couple of hours if the weather isn't playing ball.

Top of the Whakapapa road is the access point for Mt Ruapehu's Sky Waka www.mtruapehu.com, a super-dooper new gondola that whizzes up from Whakapapa's ski base to the 2020m-high Knoll Ridge Chalet and NZ's highest cafe. From here hike further up the mountain on the Skyline Trail for panoramic views to Mt Taranaki and beyond. (2-3 hours return)

Other great places close to National Park for learning about conservation include Blue Duck Station, a working farm with environmental restoration at its heart.You can learn more about efforts to save the blue duck/whio at the Whio Forever website, an excellent resource for students, parents and teachers alike.

National Park is a great base for bike rides. The Ruapehu region offers a great range off-road trail rides for all ages and abilities. Two easy rides starting at National Park Village are the Marton Sash & Door Tramway, a lovely loop ride that transports riders back in time to early logging days along forest trails dotted with intriguing relics and Fishers Track, an easy grade 2 downhill classic through pretty countryside backdropped by unforgettable views of the volcanoes.

And for those school ski&snowboard trips let's not forget the easy access from National Park Village to Whakapapa resort and Happy Valley, NZ's premier on snow learning facility.www.mtruapehu.com/winter

Close to all the action, National Park Village welcomes visitors all year round with authentic Kiwi hospitality and a variety of quality accommodation to suit groups of any size. There's plenty to do in the village too.Your students will enjoy relaxing at the end of the day with a spa at The Park Hotel, a quick round at the Schnapps 18-hole mini-golf course with its 'best views in the world' outlook or something a little more energetic at the popular Indoor Climbing Wall a great place to learn the ropes or hone your Hillary skills.

All these activity opportunities are supported by National Park Village based adventure operators. Start planning your summer camp now at www.mtruapehu.com and www.nationalpark.co.nz

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