A stunning volcanic landscape nestled at the southern end of Lake Taupo is home to New Zealand’s largest winter playground.
With wide open plains, rivers and awe-inspiring mountains, Mt Ruapehu is a unique alpine destination situated within a World Heritage National Park. The volcanic terrain means huge variety between trails, with over 54 runs to discover at Whakapapa Ski Area alone.
Whakapapa's old lava flows make great natural half-pipes and challenging terrain for intermediates and experts, while the dedicated beginners area, Happy Valley, is great for learning and for kids. A freestyle terrain park completes the line up, and you can watch all the action from New Zealand’s highest café at Knoll Ridge.
Turoa, on the south-western side of Mt Ruapehu, caters for beginners to advanced, and is known for its wide open bowls and chutes. Snowboarders will love the dedicated terrain park, and you’ll find long linked runs from the top of Australasia’s highest chairlift all the way to the bottom of the ski area.
Mt Ruapehu lift passes give you access to both areas.
Tukino Ski Field, on the eastern side of Mt Ruapehu, is a club-operated field that will appeal to those wanting a day in the backcountry. There are 3 lifts servicing the ski field and cat skiing for those who want a bigger adventure. The lakeside tourist town of Taupo lies just one hour 15 minutes from Whakapapa Ski Area and is a great base for all kinds of winter activities. Geothermal hot pools are a highlight of staying in this region. Other towns close to the ski areas include Turangi, National Park and Ohakune.