The Central North Island is home to New Zealand's only skiable volcano, Mt Ruapehu.

A landscape of golden tussock, tumbling rivers and three awe-inspiring mountains, dual World Heritage-listed Tongariro National Park is an incredible place for winter snow sports.

The action centres on Mt Ruapehu, the North Island’s highest mountain. Two of its three ski areas – Whakapapa and Tūroa – are the largest in New Zealand, and boast some of the country’s longest ski runs with volcanic features and vast views, accessed by state-of-the-art lifts.

Whakapapa's old lava flows make great natural half-pipes and challenging terrain for intermediates and experts, while beginners can enjoy the country’s best learner slopes at Happy Valley. A freestyle terrain park completes the line up, and you can watch all the action from New Zealand’s highest café at Knoll Ridge.

Tūroa, on the south-west 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, on the eastern side of Mt Ruapehu, is a club-operated field that will appeal to those wanting a day in the backcountry. it has three 'nutcracker' tow ropes 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 like jetboating, mountain biking and scenic lake cruises. Its geothermal hot pools are always a highlight!

Smaller towns closer to the ski areas include Turangi, National Park Village and Ohakune.

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Recommended Experiences

Recommended trip

Discover other North Island winter experiences on this itinerary that takes you from stunning underground cave formations to beautiful lakes, geothermal attractions and snowy peaks.

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Where to next?

What you need to know about skiing in the North Island →

Hot pools & health spas →

Taupō →