“I once skied right over the top of a volcano” is a great start to a holiday story – and you’ll get immediate bragging rights once you’ve visited Mt Ruapehu, located just four hours south from Auckland.
Hit Happy Valley at Whakapapa – perfect for beginners and a great place to get your ski-legs back if it’s been a while since you were on the slopes.
Once your confidence builds, you can head over to Turoa, on the south-western side of Mt Ruapehu. Here, hit the natural half-pipes created from old lava flows for some challenging runs. Mid-winter, you’ll find endless snowdrifts and absolutely beautiful scenery. Look across to Mt Ngarauhoe (better known as Mount Doom if you’re a Lord of the Rings movie trilogy fan!)
Back in Auckland after your snow-time adventure, you can keep the icy experiences going with a visit to Snow Planet where the powder is almost as good as the real thing, followed by an uber-cool cocktail experience at Minus 5 Bar where the walls, chairs, tables and even drinking glasses are concocted of pure ice. Don’t worry – ugg boots, coats and fur hats are all provided for eager patrons.
Before you leave, warm up in beautiful natural thermal pools, among the native bush and hills of the Waiwera valley. Temperatures in the outdoor and indoor thermal pools start from 30 degrees Celsius and some pools are filled with water as warm as 40 degrees Celsius so you will definitely lose that chilly winter feeling. There are slides and fun activities for the family, all just 35 minutes from Auckland city.
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