Central North Island National Parks

A number of New Zealand's National Parks are situated just a few hours' drive from Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty. Those national parks are detailed in descending order, from closest to furthest from Rotorua and include how long it take to drive to them.

Tongariro National Park: +2 Hours, 15 Minutes

Tongariro National Park, in the central North Island, boasts active volcanoes, hot springs and crystal clear lakes. It's also a haven for trampers and climbers, and nearby Lake Taupo is a great base from which to explore the area further. Forests, waterfalls and mountains complement the rich, Maori heritage of the region.

Te Urewera National Park: +2.5 Hours

Te Urewera National Park occupies the north east corner of the North Island. Only a fraction of the 2,000 square kilometres is accessible, highlighting how beautifully wild it is. Thick rainforest, steep gulleys and gorges, and demanding tramping tracks, characterise the landscape. But there's also less demanding terrain around the calm lakes of Waikareiti and Waikaremoana.

Whanganui National Park: +3 Hours, 15 Minutes

Whanganui National Park is a family-friendly park on the North Island's southwestern tip. With plenty of flora and fauna to investigate, it's an all-year round walker's paradise. Low valleys and gorges, and high hills and cliffs, offer something for everyone, and the Whanganui River provides plenty of fishing, rafting and paddling.

Egmont National Park: +4 Hours, 15 Minutes

Egmont National Park is dominated by the majestic volcano of Taranaki (also called Mount Egmont). Circular in shape, the park is situated on the west coast of the North Island, south of New Plymouth. It offers a landscape rich in rainforest,  fairy forests and waterfalls, yet is also very close to the sea.