House sitting in
The above region dominated by Mt Taranaki, stretches from the port city of New Plymouth in the east to the central North Island's snow-capped trio Mt Ruapehu, Ngaruahoe and Tongariro. All four mountains offer spectacular views, pristine ski fields and alpine tramping trails. Mt Taranaki's claim to fame is that it was Mt Fuji's stunt double in the movie The Last Samurai.
Treat yourself to a stay at the historical Chateau Tongariro with its grand architecture, before embarking on the round-the-mountain Tongariro Crossing. Ruapehu has blown its top on a number of occasions, most recently in 1996, but don’t let that prevent you from hiking to its highest peak at 2,672m to take a swim in its blue crater lake. On a clear day from the top you can see stunning views of Taranaki, Lake Taupo and both coasts of New Zealand. Lake Taupo is the jewel in the centre of the North Island, and according to geologists erupted in the 1st Century AD, leaving a playground for all manner of water sports. Hire a boat and a skipper, get yourself a license and fish the lake or the rivers for wild trout. For the more adventurous, Taupo also offers crazy white river rafting experiences, sky diving and tandem bungy jumping. If you are looking for peace and quiet, head off to Wairakei Hot Pools for a thermal soak, and relax whilst listening to the native birds.