The North Island of New Zealand is dominated topographically by large volcanic cones looming over the landscape. The highest is recently-erupted (1996) Ruapehu (9177'/2797m), in the center of the North Island, and two lower peaks to the north, Ngauruhoe (7516'/2291m) and Tongariro (6457'/1968') are part of the same range. All three volcanos are part of Tongariro National Park, and Ruapehu offers skiing at two areas on its slopes, as long as there is no threat of lava flowing down onto skiers.
On an bulge on the North Island's west coast lies another volcano, Taranaki (8261'/2518m). Once known as Mount Egmont, it is the second highest peak on the island and an alomst perfect cone in the tradition of Japan's Fuji.
The remainder of the North Island is often very wrinkled topographically, but harbors only high hills and no major summits. Excluding the four big volcanoes, the highest summit is lowly Te Aroha (3123'/952m).