Mountain Air Volcanic Scenic Flights

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PO Box 71028, Whakapapa Village, Mt Ruapehu 3951


New Zealand's Tongariro National Park is the second oldest National Park in the world and one of the few Dual World Heritage Area being recognised for it's natural and cultural significance.

Tongariro National Park is a world heritage site and is the second oldest National Park in the world after Yellowstone in America. Tongariro is New Zealand's oldest national park and a dual World Heritage area. This status recognises the park's important Maori cultural and spiritual associations as well as its outstanding volcanic features. It is a place of extremes and surprises, a place to explore and remember. From herb fields to forests, from tranquil lakes to desert-like plateau and active volcanoes - Tongariro has them all.

The National Park includes three mountains, Mt Ruapehu, Mt Ngauruhoe, and Mt Tongariro, which were presented to the people of New Zealand in 1887 by Te Heuheu Tukino IV, Paramount Chief of the Tuwharetoa tribe. To tangata whenua (people of the land) the mountains are a vital part of their history, their whakapapa (genealogy) and legends are venerated accordingly.

This is an active volcanic area which had its last eruption in September, 2007. Major eruptions lasting many weeks occurred in 1995 and 1996 when Mt Ruapehu sent out plumes of ash, rock, and several lahars. Mt Ruapehu is the highest mountain in the North Island and the main skiing spot in the region. Its crater lake is filled with acidic tepid water which changes temperature on a regular basis.

Mt Ngaruhoe last erupted in 1975 and is a classic cone-shaped volcano. It is the youngest mountain in the Tongariro National Park.

Mt Tongariro is the lowest and most northerly of the three, measuring 1,968m (6,457 ft.). It is also the focus of Maori legends.

Experience the breathtaking views of New Zealand's oldest National Park and World Heritage Site with a scenic flight over the dramatic landscape of the area. See into the live craters of Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu, and view the spectacular lakes on the mountains, the Emerald Lakes, the Blue Lake and the Tama Lakes with Mountain Air!
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The great mountains in the heart of the North Island were once Gods and Warriors of great strength. To the north west of Tauhara stood Pihanga whose fame and beauty was widely known. Each of the four mountains, Mt. Taranaki (Egmont), Mt. Tongariro, Mt. Tauhara and Mt. Edgecumbe (Putauaki - in the Bay of Plenty) wooed her and wished her to be his wife. Pihanga adored them all.

They responded with joy and majestic outbursts and covered the earth with fiery larva and molten stones. Pihanga could not decide which one she would marry.

Pihanga aroused the passions of the giants - she made the great giants and the volcanoes tremble! They became silent, gathering strength for their fight. The rumblings grew into a crashing thunder and Tongariro erupted a fiery mass of molten stones. The battle had started and raged for many days and nights. Tongariro emerged victorious. He became the Supreme Lord over the land and the proud husband of Pihanga.

The defeated mountains decided to leave and find domains where they could rule undisturbed.

Mt. Taranaki (Egmont) followed the setting sun to Taranaki and created the winding path of the Whanganui River. Tauhara and Mt. Edgecumbe decided to travel towards the sea and look towards dawn. They had to complete their journey in one night. Tauhara moved very slowly as he was sad and sore and only got as far as the north eastern shore of Lake Taupo and looks broodingly across at Pihanga and her proud husband. Mt. Edgecumbe moved quickly northwards and when the morning sun rose he found himself at the northern end of the Kaiangaroa Plaines - 160 km from where he originally stood.

One day, perhaps they will all rise up to return to the realms of Tongariro to seek revenge. Who knows?

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