Whakapapa Village might be easy to miss, if you’re thinking of a real village. This village has just one hotel, an old petrol station converted into a Maori carving workshop and an i-SITE Visitors Information Centre. It’s doesn’t look much, but it’s the main entrance to the Tongariro National Park and the many incredible walking tracks it offers.
Whether you have a hiking plan or not, it’s worth going into the i-site visitors centre to learn about the park, the fiery volcanoes and to check the weather .
On the back of a fly-fishing trip we’d planned a day in the park, with lunch at the Chateau Tongaririo Hotel, a beautiful old lady of a hotel and a walk to Taranaki Fall. The loop takes about two hours.
Walking over volcanic rock, the beginning of the walk is harsh and barren yet beautiful and mystical with the rain and mist. Before reaching the falls we knew we were close as we could hear the water thundered over a precipice into the swimming hole below.
As the water cascaded down the mountain, we crossed several bridges as the ice melt from the mountain gushing under us. While the scenery was magnificent what was even more beautiful was the alpine flora that survives such adverse conditions, growing out of rocks with long periods in sub-zero conditions, often buried in snow.
It’s great to take in the bigger picture, but sometimes there’s just as much beauty in the smaller things. While I’m no botanist it hard not to admire the colour, form, texture and structures of these plants, so next time you’re in the park take a minute to enjoy the small things.
For all information on walks in the Tongariro National Park take a look at this web site; Whakapapa Village