DOC advises the Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre in Whakapapa Village will be closed to the public from 1pm Sunday March 21st 2021 for building work and will reopen Monday 29 March at 8am. The visitor team will still be available to respond to queries by phone or email:07 892 3729 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Whakapapa visitor centre has splendid facilities for skiers in winter and even more for tourists tramping the various local tracks at this time of the year. We called in yesterday after a stroll around the Taranaki Falls loop.
We had just completed the two hour walk around the Taranaki Falls loop track accessed from the road behind the Chateau.
This walk is often recommended for when weather conditions close the Tongariro Crossing.
Another attraction at Whakapapa is to ride on the gondola (sky waka) up over the ski fields but it was under maintenance yesterday (so the gondola did not deserve any photos today).
Some tourists may imagine they might save on the $costs of a shuttle bus on this Plan B option but SWMBO’s preferred option encourages them to spend it on the gondola ride instead.
The weather is so unpredictable in this alpine region that all visitors should have a plan “B”.
Indeed, many tourists have advised that the alternative combination of a 2 hour waterfall and alpine walk to Taranaki Falls followed by the 2 hour loop around Lake Rotopounamu (Greenstone Lake) on the return trip followed by a 1-2 river walk along the Tongariro River are better value than the “bucket list crossing” but, more importantly, it provides them with a choice which are not so weather dependant.
The photos below are supposed to show how well maintained the Taranaki Falls track is with even a toilet at the halfway mark.
(With apologies to Colin Baker who operates the best Tongariro Crossing shuttle service in the world)