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Excellent Lodging & Camping In/Around Whakapapa, New Zealand


When it comes to the great outdoors, nothing beats spending a night in a warm sleeping bag, falling asleep listening to the wind blowing against your tent or the sound of nature all around you. This is especially true for lovely Tongariro National Park, an eco/adventure-lover's paradise on New Zealand’s North Island.

Within the park, there's a village, Whakapapa, as well as an eponymous nearby ski slope on the northern side of Mount Ruapehu. There are four main accommodations in the village: Chateau Tongariro Hotel, Whakapapa Holiday Park, Discovery Lodge,and Skotel Alpine Resort. Chateau Tongariro Hotel is the oldest, constructed in 1929. It is situated right in the heart of the Tongariro National Park and is very proud of its conservation and cultural interactions with the village and the surrounding national park. The Skotel Alpine Resort is not just for those who wish to shred the slopes of the surrounding mountains but it is available to travelers all year round. Apart from being one of the best guides when it comes to skiing, they are also one of the best guides in the region to take you on day trips across the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, which has become immensely popular. Both offer breathtaking views of the national park and surrounding volcanic mountains.

When it comes to camping there are two places that shine above the rest in Whakapapa village – Whakapapa Holiday Park and the Discovery Lodge.

Whakapapa Holiday Park is set at the base of Mt Ruapehu. From the holiday park, you can catch shuttles to the ski slope or to one of the many day hikes in the national park as well as gain access to so many other facilities like trout fishing, forest exploration, canoeing and more. There are two types of camping facilities here: campervan sites and tent sites. The former have electricity and running water and are NOT for tents – it is for campervans and caravans only. The tent site does not have electricity but it does have running water and shared ablution facilities. Both camping sites are surrounded by native forests.

The Discovery Lodge is truly something magnificent to behold, starting with a ten-acre park-like grass plot to camp on. On top of this, it is the only campsite in the village where you get a full panoramic view of the active volcanoes (see for breathtaking images of the campgrounds). The campsites at the Discovery Lodge are for tents only – no campervans or caravans allowed. All the normal lodging facilities (like the guest house, the bar, the restaurant, and free shower facilities) are available to campers. Online reviews all seem to recommend Discovery Lodge camping as the best in the village.

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