Essentials

GETTING THERE & GETTING AROUND By Plane Mountain Air Xpress (& 0800/922-812 in NZ; www.mountainair.co.nz) has daily service linking Auckland with Mount Ruapehu. It also has a range of ski/flight packages. By Train The Tranz Rail (& 0800/802-802) Overlander and Northerner express trains stop at National Park and Ohakune.

By Coach (Bus) InterCity (& 07/378-9032) provides service to the national park. Whakapapa Express (& 0800/828-763 in NZ, or 07/377-0435) offers daily ski and mountain transport between Taupo, Ohakune, and Whakapapa. Ruapehu Ski Shuttle (& 0800/331-995 in NZ, or 09/379-8886; fax 09/3798151) services National Park Village, Whakapapa, and Ohakune from Auckland Sunday through Wednesday and on Friday.

By Car Highway 1 runs along the eastern side of the park; Highway 4 goes through National Park Village on the western side; Highways 47 and 48 bring travelers from the south shore of Lake Taupo into the heart of the park; and Highway 49 turns off State Highway 1 at Waiouru at the south end of the park and travels to Ohakune. Mount Ruapehu is a 4-hour drive from either Auckland or Wellington.

VISITOR INFORMATION The Whakapapa Visitor Information Centre is in the village of Whakapapa at the end of State Highway 48 (& 07/892-3729; fax 07/892-3814; [email protected]). It's open daily from 8am to 5pm (closed Dec 25) and provides current volcanic, weather, and track information. Hut and camping passes, maps and brochures, hunting permits, and other items are available. The center has exhibits on the natural and human history of the park along with two excellent audiovisual displays—The Sacred Gift of Tongariro and The Ring of Fire. Information about the Whakapapa Ski Field, 7km (4H miles) above the village, is also available.

The Ruapehu Information Centre, 54 Clyde St., Ohakune (& 0800/7827348 in NZ, or 06/385-8427; fax 06/385-8527; www.ruapehu.tourism.co.nz), is open weekdays from 9am to 5pm, weekends from 9am to 3:30pm. For information online, go to www.ruapehuNZ.com. You can reach the Ohakune Department of Conservation office at & 06/385-0010. The Turangi Visitor Centre, Ngawaka Place, Turangi (& 0800/288-726 in NZ or 07/386-8999; fax 07/386-0074; www.laketauponz.com), is another useful stop, open daily from 8:30am to 5pm. And for information on National Park Village, go to www.nationalpark.co.nz or www.ruapehunz.com.

Make sure you pick up the free brochure Tongariro Action—Do It, available at any visitor center.

The telephone area code (STD) for the west side of the national park is 07; for Ohakune, it is 06.

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