No matter what the season, the Tongariro region centered around Taupo, Turangi, and The Tongariro National Park provide an unparalleled outdoor experience. Discover this pristine alpine landscape abundant with activities and adventure from River Birches, located at the epicentre of this unique environment.

Turangi and Taupo

Turangi offers an 18-hole golf course, white-water rafting on the Tongariro, and kayaking through the surrounding wetlands. Walkers will enjoy the river walkway alongside River Birches and the many other scenic walks in the area.

An easy 45-minute drive north brings you to the tourist hub of Taupo. Here you will find excellent restaurants, bars, shopping, and many outdoor pursuits, such as fishing, boating, water-skiing, bungy-jumping, and several 18-hole golf courses, including Kinloch in Taupo and the famous Wairakei International Course just further north.

Emerald Lakes on the Tongariro Crossing

Tongariro Crossing
This iconic walk draws visitors from all over the world. Spectacular hiking through alpine forest, volcanic mountains and crater lakes is breathtaking and can be done within a day by most active people. (See The Tongariro Crossing section for more detail.)

Man fly fishing in the Tongariro River

Fly Fishing
River Birches Lodge is located just metres from the world-renowned Tongariro River. A short walk away, one of the river’s most famous pools – the Major Jones – awaits the early morning angler. River Birches guides can lead you to the best spots.

People White Water Rafting in the Tongariro River

White water rafting
Take an exhilarating rafting trip down a beautiful stretch of the famous Tongariro River, through rapids and fishing pools through to the edges of Lake Taupo. Grade 1 water is suitable for first-time rafters. Great fun on the doorstep of River Birches.

Beautiful Waterfall in Tongariro National Park

Local walks
No other New Zealand location has a greater abundance of scenic walks. From your River Birches base, you can reach hiking tracks in Kaimanawa Forest Park, Tongariro National Park, local river walks and trails around Lake Taupo. Options range from walks lasting an hour or so through to 2 or 3-day treks.

People Skiing at in Tongariro National Park

Two major ski fields located in World Heritage Tongariro National Park are within an hour’s drive from River Birches. These ski fields often enjoy a long season beginning late autumn through to mid-spring.

Bird Watching 

New Zealand is famed for its extraordinary bird life, and a region as untouched by the outside world as the Central Plateau is the jewel in the crown of this wild country.

Wander down winding paths along the banks of the Tongariro River, or experience the crystal-clear waters of Lake Rotopounamu, a sacred place for the local Maori Tribe, Ngāti Tūwharetoa. These areas are famed for their rich biodiversity, you’ll hear the call of the two-voiced Tūi, the chirp of the friendly Pīwakwaka, the soft coo and booming wings of the Keruru, and the cry of the nocturnal Ruru.

The Tongariro River is at the heart of the national conservation project, and is the only place in the country where the native Blue Duck can be found, one of the most endangered bird species on the planet, the recovery of this treasured bird is an extraordinary achievement, and one which we’d like to share with you as you make your way down these ancient paths and observe this wild, untouched world.