To experience the North Island’s ‘Alpine Country’ on the seismically sensitive Central Volcanic Plateau, there’s no better place to go than Turangi.
Turangi has the pulse of this volcanic heartland, with New Zealand’s largest lake (Lake Taupo) on its front doorstep and the vast Tongariro National Park (a World Heritage site) just minutes away to the south. The town is the halfway point between Auckland and Wellington on State Highway One.
The Maori translation of Turangi is ‘To stand in the sky’ which alludes to the three snow-capped mountains that dominate the skyline; Ruapehu, which has the North Island’s finest ski fields, Ngauruhoe, a perfectly symmetrical volcanic cone, which is continually active and Tongariro, a multi-cratered mountain with emerald and blue lakes and a lunar landscape.
To learn about the Tongariro National Park you can visit the Turangi visitor centre where a detailed relief model gives an insight into the topography on the main tramping routes. The most popular day trip is the renowned Tongariro Crossing considered to be the best one day walk in New Zealand. The four day Northern Circuit tramp goes around the base of Mt. Ngauruhoe.
Turangi has been called ‘The Trout Fishing Capital’ with some justification as the Lake Taupo/Tongariro River trout fishery is the finest in the world. The fishery is self-sustaining because of excellent spawning grounds, ample food supply and superb quality wild fish stocks. The National Trout Centre on S.H.1 at Turangi has a fascinating self-guided walking tour, which includes underwater viewing areas and a children’s fishing pond.
Guided tours are also run in the Tongariro Delta area, one of New Zealand’s largest wetlands, home to swan, dabchicks, white-faced heron and Canada geese.
For adventure seekers Turangi is a good base for tramping, rafting, mountain biking and kayaking. The tramping options are legion, starting with a local ramble through a scenic gorge called the River Walk. The Lake Rotopounamu Circuit 10 km south, gives you the chance to encircle a pristine bush-fringed lake. The Kaimanawa Forest Park has numerous tracks starting near the Turangi township.
The Turangi area is brim full of opportunities to see the great New Zealand outdoors at its very best.