The Central Plateau region of New Zealand is an incredibly diverse part of the country. From the great Lake Taupo through to the majestic mountains of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro, there's something for everyone here whether you're into water sports, skiing, hiking or waterfall chasing.
This year I was fortunate enough to walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing which is considered NZ's best day walk. It's 20km of hiking up the Mangetopopo Saddle between Ngauruhoe and Tongariro and then down past the stunning Emerald and Blue Lakes and down the other side of Tongariro. The day we walked was an incredible bluebird day with all the mountains in full view - I felt so lucky as I know people who have tried to do this walk on multiple occasions and had to postpone due to the changeable alpine conditions.
One of my other favourite spots in this area is Tawhai Falls - a short walk off the main road up to the Whakapapa ski area. The day we visited the falls were raging, which made it easy to get some silky long exposure shots. It's also a Lord of the Rings film location from the scene where Gollum frolics in the pool fishing. There's also a gem of a lake called Rotoaira that's just off the main route to the mountains, which is the perfect spot to sit and watch the sunrise if the weather is kind.
Now that I live within 2.5 hours drive of the Central Plateau, I will be planning plenty more trips here to explore the area on a regular basis as I feel as if I've only just scratched the surface!