Tongariro named one of world's top parks

By Andrea Warmington

Lonely Planet has named Tongariro National Park as one of the world's best parks and preserves.

* At 11.50pm on August 6, 2012, a volcanic eruption occurred at Mt Tongariro's Te Maari crater. Anyone planning on visiting the area should first check the latest travel advisories on the Department of Conservation's website.

Lonely Planet describes New Zealand's oldest park Tongariro as "a serene realm of geological anomalies". Photo / Greg Bowker
Lonely Planet describes New Zealand's oldest park Tongariro as "a serene realm of geological anomalies". Photo / Greg Bowker

Lonely Planet has named Tongariro National Park as one of the world's best parks and preserves in a list that includes the Grand Canyon and Iguazu Falls National Park in South America.

Tongariro came in at number nine - ahead of the Galapagos Islands in tenth place.

The popular travel guide describes New Zealand's oldest park as "a serene realm of geological anomalies".

"After 10 seconds at Tongariro National Park, it's easy to understand why the region was chosen as the backdrop for Peter Jackson's epic Lord of the Rings trilogy," said Lonely Planet, describing the park's "three dormant volcanoes, immortalised in the films, rise high above the cool, clear waters of Lake Taupo".

According to Lonely Planet, the Craters of the Moon is "the highlight of Tongariro's ethereal sights," a "steamy stretch of burping mud and smoke-spewing craters".

The World's Best Parks and Preserves

1. Namib Naukluft National Park, Namibia

2. Banff National Park, Canada

3. Mungo National Park, Australia

4. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA

5. Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

6. Northeast Greenland National Park, Greenland

7. Iguazu Falls National Park, Argentina/Brazil

8. Saba Marine National Park, Netherlands Antilles

9. Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

10. Galapagos National Park, Galapagos Islands

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