Visit Orakei Korako
Situated between Taupo & Rotorua, on the banks of the Waikato River, lies the hidden valley of Orakei Korako Cave and Thermal Park. Off the beaten tourist track it is the most active geothermal area in New Zealand. Up to 23 active natural geysers play freely through the area, which is constantly changing. Marvel at the number of boiling hot springs and the vibrant colours all around you, or take a native bushwalk through this untouched geothermal paradise.
Lake Rotopounamu, also known as 'Greenstone Lake’ because of its gorgeous green colour, is only ten minutes' drive from Turangi. It is favourite with locals. Enjoy the two hour loop track through beech forest to the spectacular white sandy beach - a beautiful place for picnics.
Opotaka - Home of the Haka
Most people have heard of Ka Mate - New Zealand’s most famous haka performed by the All Blacks before their games. What most people don’t know, is how and where the Ka Mate haka transpired. The origins of this haka date back some 200 years at a site called Opotaka on the shores of Lake Rotoaira, in between the town of Turangi and the Tongariro National Park. Find out more about the history of the area and visit the site for yourself.
Take a road trip to the sleepy lakeside settlements of Kuratau, Omori, Pukawa and Whareroa. Nestled amongst native bush with stunning lake views, these areas are perfect for picnics on the beach, boating, kayaking, bush walking or just watching the world go by.
Visit the site of New Zealand's worst railway accident at Tangiwai, snap a selfie with reputedly the world's largest model carrot and sample the tasty treats on offer at Johnny Nation's Chocolate Eclair Shop in Ohakune.
Relax over a high tea, a drink or meal amongst the timeless elegance of Chateau Tongariro. Located within Whakapapa Village at the base of the ski area, the building was constructed in 1929. This charming hotel is definitely a must do on your trip to the Central North Island.
National Army Museum
Located at the foot of Mt Ruapehu, the National Army Museum brings military history to life. Visitors will be inspired by real-life soldier's stories and reflect on how conflict has shaped New Zealand. Learn about the heroes, stories of honour, courage and sacrifice.
Waikato River Trails
If you are into mountain biking, riding the Waikato River Trails is a good way to explore New Zealand's longest river - the mighty Waikato River. The trails cover about 100 kilometres of previously inaccessible Southern Waikato land from Lake Karapiro to the Atiamuri Dam.