Tongariro National Park Village (NZ) with kids

For adventurous or outdoor loving travelers, Tongariro National Park is heaven! For families, it was awesome! Click to read more!

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Our first ever stop was Tongariro National Park Village, on the North Island of NZ. We were there in April of 2016, during Autumn. We had pleasant days with chilly nights, very little rain.
On this post, I’m gonna talk all about Tongariro National Park Village (NZ) with kids.

 

 

Accommodation

We didn’t really choose it and we wouldn’t have stayed there if we didn’t have an awesome person letting us stay for a discounted rate.

This is the house. It was complete, with everything we needed (except food), even toys, DVDs, and crayons. It is reasonably sized, worked perfectly for the 6 of us. From the kitchen window, you can see Mt Ruapehu and Mt Ngauruhoe. There are a fireplace and enough wood to warm us up the whole night. The only downside is that there was no internet.

It’s a small village very near 3 volcanoes (Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe, and Mt Ruapehu). If you follow us on Facebook, you probably saw the bunch of photos I uploaded every day because it is a breathtaking place.

 

Mount Ngauruhoe, in Tongariro National Park Village, NZ, is absolutely stunning! Great place to take your kids to!

We were there, just looking at the perfection of Mount Ngauruhoe and chillin’…

We spent 17 days there and they were awesome days.

On the first week, we did only the very basics: resting, sleeping, trying to make the fire work, grocery shopping, etc. We did walk around the neighborhood a lot, though.

The second week was pretty awesome. We received some bad news from Angelo’s bosses and we had to figure out what to do about that too, but we did enjoy our time.

I am going to list all the stuff we did during our time there.

What to do in Tongariro National Park with kids

WALKS: they are free, good for you, pleasant, Must do! You can read more about each of them – and more – here.

Meads Wall, NZ, is one of the places where they shot a scene from The Lord of The Rings. It was awesome taking the kids there!

OK, so this was one of the hardest walks for me. The path was full of loose rocks, it was slippery, it was steep. I felt like I was going to die. But when we arrived, I loved it. Until it was time to get out of there. Then I hated it again.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing: Hard, long walk. It’s said to take around 6 hours to complete, but it’s steep and slippery. Not for those who are unsure. You can go to any hostel/hotel/camping ground and they will take you to the beginning of the track themselves or contact someone who does for you. They charged Angelo NZ$ 30. By the way, Angelo did it by himself, but he said there was one family with a 10-11-year-old there too.

Taranaki Falls Walk: It was our first ever walk and it took us more than 3 hours to complete, but it was pretty amazing! The views are stunning and the walk itself was very pleasant. We crossed and crossed the river many times, we walked behind the waterfall, we climbed many stairs and crossed many bridges. The track is very well maintained and easy to follow, but it is for those capable of walking for at least 2 hours and climb stairs. We stopped many times to rest, to take in the views, to allow Coral’s bruised knee to heal, to play. Coral (4 years old) completed the whole track on her own feet.

Taranaki Falls, NZ, was one of the best hikes we've ever done! Long, yet easy, and super pleasant. Perfect for families!

Taranaki Falls, NZ. If there’s a better hobby than to hike with your kids, then I’d like to be introduced to it!

Meads Wall Walk: This was probably the hardest for me. The official track was closed due to the construction of the new chairlift, so we had to climb down and up paths made out of loose rocks. I had to squat down and go really low on most of the decline areas (with Melissa) but Angelo, the boys, and Coral (4 years old) had no problem at all: they kept on going forward and said it was just fine. It’s said to take 20 minutes return, but it took us 20 minutes each way – because Melissa and I took way longer.  Anyway, up there, beside the wall, you get the most amazing view of Mt Ngauruhoe ever. The wall is really magical, I could totally visualize Frodo and Sam there – it’s the location of a few scenes of The Lord of The Ring, after all.

Ridge Walking Track: the guide at i-SITE said it takes 30-40 minutes return and the sign at the start of the track says it takes 1-hour return. We took around 20-25 minutes going up and around 10 going down. It’s a steady climb: easy, but tiring. From the end of the track, you see the Chateau Tongariro, the volcanoes, and the whole Whakapapa Village. I don’t know if we were tired but we didn’t think this was the most impressive walk.

Tawhai Falls Walk: around 20 minutes return, but with stairs and rocks to climb so you might not want to wear jeans – trust me. It’s fast and easy and you get really close to Tawhai Falls. We spent a lot of time there, playing by the river. The turquoise waters were just amazing and inviting. It’s really such a shame it was so freezing cold! The kids loved it. Almost all the photos from this day were taken by Melissa – I had had a bad neck day. Super recommend this walk.

Mounds Walk – it’s said to take around 20 minutes return. We took around 20 counting the time we spent up there. It’s mostly stairs, but they’re quick and not many. From up there you get good views of the mountains.

 

 

 

EATERIES:

We went to have High Tea at Chateau Tongariro, NZ, with the kids. The high tea was a new experience, but having it inside a castle, that can't be beat!

High Tea at Chateau Tongariro, NZ – it was having a high tea, in a castle. Beat that fancy!

Station Cafe: we had brunch there. The food and the service were pretty good and the internet is the best we experienced there. It’s just next to the train station. Price is the same as any cafe in NZ.

Macrocarpa: a cafe by the only gas station. We had dinner there. The Godfather pizza was really good, but the burgers were just OK. The internet didn’t work at all. Service is OK too.

Knoll Ridge Cafe, New Zealand’s Highest Cafe: It is located 2020m above sea level on Mt Ruapehu and you need to climb 2 hours or take the chairlift. We got there at 3 pm and they close at 4 pm, so there wasn’t much food to choose from, which was unfortunate, but the pies and sausage rolls were good and the brownie was very good. The price’s the same as the other cafes in town.

Chateau Tongariro: we had high tea there. It was expensive (it costs NZ$25 per person in April 2016). The tea was amazingly good, the desserts were dreamy but the sandwiches weren’t. It is quite a sight, though, the pretty chateau with Mount Ruapehu on the back. You don’t really have to eat there to enjoy the views.

ENTERTAINMENT: besides the winter sports and the walks, of course.

Knoll Ridge Cafe, the Highest Cafe in NZ had almost no food left, but the views from there were just stunning!

While we’re being fancy, we had an afternoon tea at Knoll Ridge Cafe, the Highest Cafe in NZ

Chairlift on Mt Ruapehu: oh so high! Not for those who are afraid of heights (like me). I managed, but I was scared to death all the time. Each trip takes around 15 minutes, and in order to get to the highest point of the chairlift, you need to take 2 different chairlifts (one charge only for all the 4 needed – 2 to go up, 2 to go down). To get to the peak of Mt Ruapehu, you need to walk around 2 hours more after the second lift. We didn’t. It gets cold up there, so bring a jacket, even during summer. It cost us NZ$ 69 for the whole family in April 2016.

Schnapps: there are an 18-hole mini golf course and a climbing wall, besides the cafe-bar in National Park Village. We didn’t try it.

Four Square: By the gas station, the only market in the Village. Pricey, but has more stuff than I’d imagined.

Playground: it’s an awesome playground at the corner of Millar St. and Buddo St. Great place for kids to play when you don’t want to go far.

Mountain bike: EVERYWHERE there’s a place that rents our bikes. EVERYWHERE. There are many bike trails around.

Visitor Centre in Whakapapa Village: Very informative displays, helpful staff, and free internet.

Water sports: there are plenty of options, anywhere you go you’ll find canoeing, rafting, fishing, kayaking, etc. We didn’t try them, it was too cold.

Historical Train Station: just a very simple train station, with loads of space to run around. It’s kinda pretty.

Tongariro National Park Village, NZ, had some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. Even the kids wanted to go outside to watch it.

The sunsets, the clouds, the mountains. Everything about Tongariro National Park Village was magic!

Overall

We loved Tongariro National Park. The Village is beautiful, and the walks are amazing. Everywhere you look, any time of the day, the views are stunning. There isn’t much other than nature and the outdoors there, but trust me, it’s enough to fill up a lot of time.

Tongariro National Park is an amazing destination for family trips with kids, but also for couples and solo travelers!

 

  • City / Country
  • Minimun Stay
  • $ ~ $$$
  • Child-friendlyness
  • Best local transport option
  • Safety
  • Do we recommend it?
  • Tongariro National Park Village / New Zealand
  • 2 days
  • $$$
  • Super child friendly!
  • Walk, though a car may be needed sometimes
  • Safe, but there is the risk of volcano eruptions…
  • Yes, yes yes1

 

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9 replies
  1. Tatiana Saito
    Tatiana Saito says:

    Essa foto da Coral abraçando o Juca (ou seria você?) está linda demais!

    Queria ver a casa mas é bloqueado aqui no serviço… Tsc tsc tsc…

    Reply

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