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8 places to escape the heat of summer in the Southern Hemisphere

By: Josh Lew on Aug. 25, 2014, 3:07 p.m.
Mount Ngauruhoe

Photo: Sid Mosdell/Flickr

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Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

Tongariro was one of the world's first national parks. Located in the interior of the North Island of New Zealand, it is very remote. Three active volcanoes are in the park: Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro. The unique landscapes were used in several scenes of the "Lord of the Rings" movies, and the park is a popular stop for adventure-seeking Tolkien fans.

The Whakapapa and Turoa ski areas, on the slopes of the Ruapehu volcano, offer a high ratio of intermediate and advanced runs, with ideal conditions from June through September. Tubing is also available, as are other adventure activities. The scenery inside the park is attractive year-round, with snowcapped mountains, pine forests, rivers and waterfalls.