Tongariro National Park, North Island, New Zealand
National Park is a small town on the central plateau of the North Island of New Zealand. Also known as National Park Village it is the highest urban township in New Zealand at 825 metres. As the name suggests, it borders the World Heritage Tongariro National Park, New Zealand's first national park created in 1887. To the West is the Whanganui National Park. The village has great views of Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom in the The Lord of the Rings film trilogy) and Mount Ruapehu.
The town is sited next to the North Island Main Trunk railway line and close to the junction of State Highways 4 and 47, halfway between Raetihi and Taumarunui and 45 kilometres southwest of the southern shore of Lake Taupo. It is 20 minutes drive to the country's biggest skifields, Whakapapa and 50 minutes drive to Turoa on the slopes of the active volcano, Mount Ruapehu. Tourism is its main industry with 1500 visitor beds in commercial accommodation and private chalets.
In the summer the village is a popular base for Tongariro and Whanganui National Park for hiking, biking and kayaking. National Park Village. Transport leaves daily (weather permitting) for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, known as the best one day alpine trek in New Zealand. Tranz Scenic's The Overlander stops at National Park for a 45 minute lunch break. On "Steam Engine Saturdays" this is reduced to approximately 30 minutes. There is a licensed cafe on the platform. To the northwest of the town the railway performs the convoluted dance that is the Raurimu Spiral, one of New Zealand's most impressive feats of engineering.