We awoke early in Rotorua to get to Tongariro National Park, our next destination. This volcanic wonderland is among New Zealand’s most striking landscapes and is its first national park established in 1887.  In it are three mighty volcanoes Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, and Ruapehu all dominating the horizon big, readily accessible, and all still active.

We were hoping to meet our pilot for a noon flight, but as the drive provided incredible vistas at every turn, the clouds grew ominous by the time we got to Chateau Tongariro at 11AM.

We postponed hoping for better weather the next morning and went exploring instead. We took a hike to a water all and witnessed a typical kiwi just dive in…


A clear sky greeted us the next morning for our flight with Bhrent Guy, the senior pilot and director for Mountain Air (Your Volcanic and Heritage Scenic Flight Adventure). We not only circled the main volcanoes in the area at a range of heights and angles, as well as flying back up to Lake Taupo - we also learned a great deal about their geological history.

I was paeticulary taken with Mount Rehapehu, always omnipresent in the landscape as we drove there and away the next day towards Wellington...