Family Travel New Zealand - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park gets lots of attention from visitors and on our website because of the famous Tongariro Crossing. But it's much more than "The Crossing". It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes the volcanic peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom) and Tongariro. NZ Vacations director Jerry Bridge took his wife and their children for a short stay, basing themselves at Ohakune.

Most of our New Zealand Vacations customers traveling down from Auckland and The Waitomo Caves will stay at the little town called National Park just inside the Tongariro National Park, because this is the closest pick-up and drop-off point for 'The Tongariro Crossing'. 

But for those staying longer, the bigger town of Ohakune (oh-ha-coon-ay) is a sometimes a better choice, especially for those traveling with their family.


Jerry - "Ohakune is actually the gateway to two National Parks, Tongariro World Heritage Park and Whanganui National Park, making it an ideal base for an adventure packed holiday. Activities include canoe adventures on the Whanganui River, golf, fishing, walking trails and an almost unlimited array of mountain-bike trails ranging from easy to challenging. And in winter there's great skiing at the Turoa or Whakapapa ski fields. We rated Ohakune as an ideal base to explore the Parks and our kids enjoyed every minute of their stay".

Eating Out in Ohakune

"We found that the best coffee, breakfast or lunch is served at a cafe called 'EAT' run by a very friendly American lady who used to be married to the lead singer of the famous NZ rock band - Exponents

For dinner we enjoyed eating out at The Cyprus Tree where the food is locally sourced, with New Zealand lamb and venison as their specialty. Delicious! After a great day on the mountain relax on the couches in front of the open fire with a classic cocktail, a homemade mulled wine or one of their famous mulled ciders. In the summer after a long hot bike ride quench your thirst with one of their fresh classic cocktails".

Our cover picture is of Jerry playing pool in the holiday home they rented for their stay in Ohakune. He never divulged the result when he and his wife Katie had a game, so we can draw our own conclusions about that.

Like several other towns in New Zealand, Ohakune likes to demonstrate to visitors their local specialty by positioning a BIG example on the edge of town. You guessed it, they grow some of the sweetest carrots in the country.


The Big carrot at the entrance to Ohakune


Off for a cross-country family bike ride


Katie considers her options.


Ratana Church - a church with a fascinating history. Read about it here

An example of a New Zealand Vacations itinerary that include the World Heritage Tongairo National Park is the 12 Day 'Heart of New Zealand' 

Lindsay Barron

Lindsay Barron • May 25, 2016