The Ruapehu District sits within the Explore Central North Island region. The recommended touring routes of the Pacific Coast and Thermal Explorer Highways link to the Volcanic Loop - a scenic and memorable day trip, with sights ranging from majestic volcanoes and alpine environment of tussock and scoria, to farmland rich with fertile soil from the volcanic eruptions of the past and the desolate and vast plains of the Rangipo Desert.
If travelling from Taupo, head west at Turangi and follow SH 47 to National Park Village. Travel south to Raetihi on SH 4 turning left towards Ohakune and then right towards Waiouru. Along the way you'll travel through the Dual World Heritage Tongariro National Park, farmland and market gardens. Spend a night in each village and take time to enjoy the many activities and attractions this region has to offer.
Historic sites, short walks and activities along the way include:
- Te Porere Redoubt (an old Maori fortification)
- Lake Rotopounamu
- Okupata caves
- Tokaanu Hot Pools
- Tongariro National Trout Centre
- Waiouru Army Museum
- Tangiwai Disaster Memorial
Visitors should take extra care driving during winter as roads can be very icy. Check weather conditions before you set out as the Desert Road (State Highway 1) may close while you are in transit.