Ruapehu is defined by the three volcanoes that stand sentinel over a landscape of tussocked desert, rivers, lakes and native forest.
Today the volcanoes are part of the World Heritage site, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand’s first national park. The centrepiece is the snow-capped Mount Ruapehu, alongside the two smaller cones of Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro. For skiers and snowboarders, Ruapehu is the site of two of the North Island’s best skifields.
Snow pursuits aside, there are many other outdoor and adventure activities in the region. The hiking on offer in this region is absolutely spectacular. For sheer scenic incredibility, you must walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This one-day hike takes you from alpine meadow to mountain summit across a surreal landscape of craters, coloured lakes and volcanic rock.
For mountain bikers, there are two New Zealand Cycle Trail Network Trails; the Timber Trail and the Mountains to Sea - Nga Ara Tuhono Trail. There are also several smaller cycle trails rich in native landscape and history.
Experience the tranquil Whanganui River by canoe or jet boat, isolated deep in the Whanganui National Park and visit the mysterious Bridge to Nowhere.
There is plenty of accommodation in the towns around the area with everything from the basic backpacker’s hostels to boutique lodges and the Edwardian grandeur and timeless elegance of the Chateau Tongariro Hotel on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu.