Mt Ruapehu is New Zealand's most famous volcano. Sacred to local Maori, it is enjoyed and explored all year round by hikers, skiers, snow boarders, botanists, geologists and nature lovers alike.
Mt Ruapehu's history began well before the last ice age. Home to the North Island's only glaciers, its crater lake is only one of three in the world surrounded by snow and ice.
Mt Ruapehu's majestic slopes accommodate New Zealand's largest and most developed ski areas, Whakapapa and Turoa. Nowhere else in New Zealand can you have the experience that Mt Ruapehu offers. Apart from the opportunity to ski on an active volcano, world-class facilities cater for all levels, from the beginners to the advanced and adventurous. The ski season usually runs from late June to mid-November, sometimes lasting into December.
Scenic chairlift rides operate on Whakapapa ski area throughout most of the year, offering unsurpassed and spectacular views over the central North Island.
Being an active volcano, eruptions and lahars occur from time to time. However, risk management procedures and sophisticated early warning systems are in place.
Whakapapa Village is situated in the dual World Heritage Tongariro National Park, at the base of the majestic Mt Ruapehu, New Zealand's most famous volcano. Home to the historic Chateau Tongariro, a New Zealand icon, it is only a short ten minute drive up the Bruce Road to Whakapapa, New Zealand's largest ski area. Scenes from the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy were filmed at various locations in the Tongariro National Park, including the base of Whakapapa ski area.
The Department of Conservation Visitor Centre provides extensive information on the walks, treks and hikes available in the Tongariro National Park, as well as information on the Park's natural and cultural features. The historic thermal village of Tokaanu in nearby Lake Taupo District is only 40 minutes drive from Whakapapa Village along the Volcanic Loop scenic drive.
Whakapapa Ski Area, on the north-western slopes of Mt Ruapehu, has more than 65 trails across 1,050 hectares, providing a hugh variety of volcanic terrain for all levels of skiers and boarders. During summer, Whakapapa operates a scenic chairlift service to the highest cafe in New Zealand and guided walks to the crater lake rim.
operates a scenic chairlift service to the highest cafe in New Zealand and guided walks to the crater lake rim.