When you hear ‘central’, often it means ‘city’, a bit of hustle and bustle. But New Zealand’s Central Plateau throws that out the window. Yes, there’s a road, but it’s the road of the ancient Maori ancestors, flanked by history and stunning landscape.

There aren’t skyscrapers, but rather trees that reach high for the skies, as you explore the World Heritage-listed Tongariro National Park. It’s here you’ll find the North Island’s highest peak: Mt Ruapehu. It’s not just famous for its height, but for awesome skiing in winter, then hiking in summer. You might find yourself lucky enough to be there when its crater lake erupts with small puffs of ash and steam.

There’s also the 53-kilometre photo opp of long ‘Desert Road’, running between Turangi and Waiouru. Keep that camera close by, because it’s a great way to see the volcano in all its beauty. If being central to the raw NZ is up your alley, visit Central Plateau.

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