The Ruapehu District is a four hour drive from either Auckland or Wellington however, if you are travelling from the Waitomo Caves or Rotorua then it wont take you as long to reach.
There is always plenty to do here including visiting Mount Doom where the famous Lord of the Rings was filmed but Ruapehu is most popular during the winter season for its largest developed ski area and its most famous volcano – Whakapapa.
There are three main ski areas in Mt Ruapehu, Whakapapa, Turoa and Tukino. You will find there is excellent skiing and boarding to suit all levels from beginner to advanced. There are groomed trails and a large variety of off-piste areas for those more intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders.
At Whakapapa ski area you will find Happy Valley which is an area that’s been developed just for beginners. If you’ve never done skiing before or you just need more practice, then you can come along to the Happy Valley. Its completly separate to the main ski area and just for learners so you feel safe and meet other learners just like you. Not only this but people with disabilities are also catered for at Whakapapa where equipment you can become accustomed to is available so you can join in with all the fun. There are experienced coaches to help you all the way so you can enjoy the experience of skiing or snowboarding not forgetting to mention the breath-taking views of Mt Ruapehu.
Driving to Mt Ruapehu mountain in clouds
For people that have come to Mt Ruapehu and don’t want to ski or board but still want to get a feel for the snow, then you still can! There are heaps of options including tobogganing. Tobogganing is a long sled with handrails that’s used on snow. It can carry one or more people down a slope/hill. You can enjoy this as many times as you want and it’s heaps of fun especially for children! Alternatively you could take the chairlift ride to the top of Mount Ruapehu and enjoy the spectacular views. At the very top, 2,020 metres above sea level, you will find the highest caf? in New Zealand – the Knoll Ridge Chalet. Here you can relax on the open, sunny deck and enjoy spectacular views of Mt Ruapehus snow-capped summit, the Tongariro National Park and the central North Island.
As mentioned before there are more ski areas to enjoy and your lift passes are valid at both Whakapapa and Turoa! During the summertime you and your family can even take the chairlift rides and guided tour that are available to Ruapehus spectacular crater lake.The guided tours depart daily (weather permitting) at 9:15am. Along the guided tours you will learn about the eruptive history of Mount Ruapehu and be able to see what remains of the volcano’s most recent eruption that occured on June 1996.
crater lake of Mt Ruapehu From a distance the view of Mt Ruapehu
There is plenty of accommodation around the area.