Flights to Tongariro National Park:
You can’t fly to directly to Tongariro, the nearest airports are Taupo (1.5 hours, 105km / 60 miles), Whanganui (2 hours 145km / 90 miles) and Palmerston North (3 hours, 215 km / 135 miles). These drive times are to Whakapapa village, where the main visitor centre and entry point into the national park.
Train from Auckland to Tongariro National Park:
There are only two national parks in New Zealand you can get to by train (Pop Quiz: What’s the other?), the Northern Explorer from Auckland runs only on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays from North to South, leaving Auckland at 07.45am and arriving at National Park Station at 1.15pm.
Train from Wellington to Tongariro National Park:
Going north, the train runs on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays (we’re sorry, we’re just a little country, we don’t have enough trains to go every day!) departing Wellington at 07.55am and arriving at National Park Station at 1.15pm.
From Auckland to Tongariro by road:
Aucklanders will tell you it takes five hours but we prefer to relax and take our time, stop for a coffee along the way, see the sights. Even better, overnight in Rotorua or check out Hobbiton. The 370 km / 230 mile trip from Auckland to Whakapapa trip takes at least 5 hours.
From Rotorua to Tongariro by road:
A much more relaxed way to go, you’ve got to check out Wai O Tapu geothermal valley on the way out of town, the Huka Falls and plenty of stops around ‘Great Lake’ Taupo are a must. So many Kiwi holiday memories in all the bachs (Kiwi Translate: Holiday House) from town through to Five Mile bay! It’s a pretty cruisey 3 hour run to cover the 185km / 115 miles.
From Wellington to Tongariro by road:
Being the capital city and HQ for all our government departments, Wellington has much more serious and realistic people when it come to drive times. Any ‘Wellingtonian’ will tell you it take about the same time to get to Tongariro as it does from Auckland, even though it’s a wee bit closer. Five hours is a minimum, six is much more comfortable for the 345 km / 215 miles.