Tongariro National Park is the oldest national park in New Zealand, located in the central North Island. It has been acknowledged by UNESCO as one of the 28 mixed cultural and natural World Heritage Sites. Tongariro National Park was the fourth national park established in the world. The active volcanic mountains Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, and Tongariro are located in the centre of the park. Tongariro national park owes its existence to forward-thinking Maori chief who gave the land to the New Zealand people in 1887 as a way to protect it from farmers and loggers.
It now consists of 196,687 acres (79,598 hectares); the Park is located around a trio of active volcanoes Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. Raupehu, the highest point in the North Island, erupted more than 60 times since 1945 and included a spectacular eruption in 1995. And don’t make the less popular with skiers in winter. Aukland and Tongariro gets about a million visitors each year, with the summer walkers lost valleys skiers in the winter. Emerald Lakes vacation is perfect for winter or summer. Like the whole of New Zealand, Tongariro National Park is situated in a temperate zone. The prevailing westerly winds gather water over the Tasman Sea. As the volcanoes of Tongariro National Park are the first significant elevations that these winds encounter on the North Island, besides Mount Taranaki, rain falls almost daily.
The east-west rainfall differences are not as great as in the Southern Alps, because the three volcanoes do not belong to a greater mountain range, but there is still a noticeable rain shadow effect with the Rangipo desert on the Eastern leeward side receiving 1,000mm rain PA . At Whakapapa Village (1119m) the average annual rainfall is about 2200 mm, in Ohakune (610m) about 1250 mm and in higher altitudes, such as Iwikau Village (1770m), about 4900 mm. In winter there is snow to about 1500 m. Temperatures vary dramatically, even within one day. In Whakapapa, they can fall below the freezing point all year round. The average temperature is 13 °C, with a maximum of 25 °C in summer and a minimum of -10 °C in winter. In some summers the summits of the three volcanoes are covered with snow; on top of Mount Ruapehu, snow fields can be found every summer and the summit is glaciated.