Tongariro National Park was established in 1887 like a first national park in the country. Chief Horonuku Te Heuheu Tukino of Ngati Tuwharetoa tribe gave this area to the government in September 1887. He wanted to prevent this for Maori secret area from destruction. The title Tongariro comes from "tonga" - southern wind, and "riro" - taking away.
In this central plateau are several active volcanos. The highest volcano in north island is Mt. Ruapehu (2 797m). Inside the crater is a lake. In winter time you can ski on the volcanos slopes. Mt. Tongariro (1 976m) is decorated with unique "Red crater" and near are several small ponds called Emerald Lakes. Their brilliant greenish colour is caused by minerals which have leached from the adjoining thermal area. In the northern part of the park are hot springs.
The youngest volcano, circa 2 500 years old, is Mt. Ngauruhoe 2 287m. Only this volcano has beautiful symmetrical conic shape. In contrast from others volcanos this one has only one valve. It is possible to climb to the summit.
Near Whakapapa is Taranaki waterfall, just a few more kilometers and are Lower and Upper Tama Lakes.
In the park is one of "Great Walks" track called Tongariro Northern Circuit. Through the prettiest part of the park leads one day track called "Tongariro Crossing". It's mostly a part of great walk.