Mt Ruapehu is conveniently located right in the centre of the North Island, approximately half way between Auckland and Wellington. Whakapapa ski area is on the north western slopes, Turoa ski area is on the south western slopes. One Mt Ruapehu lift pass gives visitor access to both ski areas. By road, the drive time between the two ski fields is around 60 minutes.
For more information visit www.mtruapehu.com
Whakapapa Ski Area on the north-western slopes is New Zealand's largest ski area, with more than 65 trails across 1050 hectares.
Whakapapa is home to New Zealand's premiere beginners' area. Happy Valley is a complete learner’s area that is separate to the main ski area so beginners can progress without the worry of faster skiers putting them off. It has its own cafe, rental complex and ski school meeting area.
There are 30 groomed trails and a huge variety of off-piste areas that intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders will love. The pinnacles backcountry area is a lift accessed double black diamond area at Whakapapa and is used for the increasingly popular Extreme Competition each September.
Season: Late June/Early July - November
Getting to and from Whakapapa Ski Area
Road - self drive
Driving distances and times to and from the Whakapapa ski area
|Km||Miles||Approx Drive Time|
|Auckland - Whakapapa||351||219||4 hours 30 minutes|
|Wellington - Whakapapa||344||213||4 hours 30 minutes|
|Whakapapa Village - Whakapapa||6||3.8||15 minutes|
|Ohakune - Whakapapa||57||35.6||45 minutes|
|Taupo - Whakapapa||102||63.8||1 hour 15 minutes|
These times are based on driving at 80 to 100 km (50 to 60 miles) per hour on open stretches of road, with a small allowance for traffic delays, petrol stops and refreshments.
Air service to and from Whakapapa ski area
Approximate flying times between domestic destinations
|Approx Flying Time|
|Auckland - Taupo||1 hour|
|Wellington - Taupo||1 hour|
These are approximate flying times, including connection times, and will differ depending on the airline and type of aircraft used.
For more information and timetable details see www.tranzscenic.co.nz
- From Auckland to National Park - 5.5 hours
- From Wellington to National Park - 6.5 hours
Scheduled Coach Services
Intercity Coachline Services offer a wide range of scheduled services throughout the North Island departing from Auckland or Wellington to Whakapapa village. www.intercitycoach.co.nz
Nakedbus operates a service between Auckland and Wellington that stops in Turangi. www.nakedbus.com.
Kiwiana Tours operates a weekend service that can include mountain transfers and accommodation. www.kiwianatours.com
- Whakapapa village - a mountain shuttle service operates from Whakapapa ski village to the ski area.
- The road is sealed all the way to the ski area and is suitable for campervans.
- Chains are required in snow conditions from Whakapapa Village onward. The chains can be hired along the road.
- Drivers unused to alpine conditions should be encouraged to use mountain shuttle services
On Mountain Facilities
- No creche facilities.
- Discover Ski / Snowboard Beginners Pack: starts at four years old and snowboarding at eight years old. Includes hirage of rental equipment, a 1 hour 50 minute discovery lesson, beginners lift pass, and one sightseeing chairlift ride.
- The Next Step Ski or Snowboard - same as above, but higher up the mountain.
- Rocket Pass - a 3 day package rocketing clients from beginner to competent skier in 3 days.
Available at the ski area's base building, or in the nearby ski villages
Whakapapa has six on-mountain licensed cafés and two bars.
Mt Ruapehu Snow School
Personal Training or Group Workshops available. Learner Packs are also available. To pre-book Snow School visit www.mtruapehu.com
Eight car parks, free shuttles run from the lower car parks during busy periods
Full medical facilities, full time doctor and nurse.
Lift passes are valid at Whakapapa and Turoa. For current rates, please visit www.mtruapehu.com.
- An entirely separate beginners area called Happy Valley is an ideal place to learn to ski or snowboard
- One hour walk to the crater of Mt Ruapehu - a semi active volcano - 500 metres of glacial skiing from here
- A huge range of ski gear available for sale on-mountain.
|Town||Km||Miles||Drive Time from ski-field|
|Whakapapa Village||6||3.8||15 minutes|
|National Park||22||13.8||20 minutes|
|Taupo||102||63.8||1 hour 35 minutes|
There is a range of accommodation available in nearby towns available to skiers including motor lodges, motels, bed and breakfast/home stays, house rentals and ski chalets. To find out more, search accommodation listings on www.newzealand.com or www.mtruapehu.com