The impressive volcanic peak is Mt Ngauruhoe–‘Mt Doom’ in the Lord of the Rings films. This is one of the most popular one-day hikes on the North Island. Instead of doing the whole crossing (point-to-point) we went up to the high point and back: about 16 km round trip with an ascent of ~ 700 m.
The Tongariro National Park–the first national park in NZ–came into being in 1887 as a gift from the local Ngati Tuwharetoa iwi to the nation of NZ on the condition that the land could not be sold to settlers.
At the northern end of the park, the Tohaanu power station is visible. This is part of the Tongariro power scheme, which involves water gathered from rivers flowing in the park, and sent through an extensive system of channels and tunnels to two generating plants which contribute ~4% of the electrical power consumed in NZ.