Top 10 things to do in Ruapehu

Hike a world-famous trail, cycle through history, canoe down a legendary river or simply soak up natural grandeur – activities and adventures lie in wait.

1. Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

One of New Zealand’s ultimate outdoor experiences, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing traverses an otherworldly, ever-changing volcanic landscape. Get deeper insights on a guided trip with Adrift Outdoors and Adventure Outdoors who also offer winter crossings with no crowds and incredible snow.

2. Cycle the Ohakune Old Coach Road

Often touted as one of New Zealand’s best half-day rides for a wide range of abilities, the Ohakune Old Coach Road follows a wonderful historic byway around Mount Ruapehu’s lower slopes. Mossy forest, railway relics and towering viaducts are just some of the many memorable sights that line the trail.

3. Canoe or jet boat the Whanganui River

Natural splendour and fascinating stories combine on the Whanganui Journey through deep gorges lined with majestic forest, cascading waterfalls, and historic sites. Dip in on a jet boat tour or paddle up to five days along a remote stretch of New Zealand’s longest navigable waterway.

4. Ski some of New Zealand’s best slopes

On the flanks of Mt Ruapehu, Whakapapa and Tūroa ski areas boast some of the country’s biggest ski runs featuring natural half-pipes, chutes and sweeping glaciers, accessed by state-of-the-art lifts. A brilliant beginner’s area, crazy volcanic features and vast views take it to the next level.

Explore North Island ski areas

5. Cycle or walk the Timber Trail

Venture deep into Pureora Forest Park on this rewarding Great Ride. Highlights include ancient forest, native birds, graceful suspension bridges and intriguing timber industry relics, while midway lodges and camping offer a chance to re-energise and savour the tranquillity.

6. Discover the forgotten world with Forgotten World Adventures

Shadowing the Forgotten World Highway that winds through hilly, green countryside, this decommissioned railway line trucks through tunnels, over bridges and past townships that time forgot. Board a rail cart to self-drive the full 142-kilometre journey or shorter options.

7. Discover the Bridge to Nowhere

A monument to pioneer spirit and broken dreams stranded deep in Whanganui National Park, this iconic concrete bridge is a cornerstone of a memorable journey. Book a day tour on a jet boat trip, choose to kayak down the Whanganui River, or even ride to the bridge as part of the Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail.

8. Ride the Mountains to Sea Ngā Ara Tūhono cycle trail

Starting high on the side of Mt Ruapehu, this New Zealand Cycle Trail Great Ride wends more than 200 kilometres across ever-changing countryside and alongside the mystical Whanganui River before reaching the Tasman Sea.

9. Take the Sky Waka gondola to Knoll Ridge Chalet

Ride Whakapapa’s Sky Waka gondola up the slopes of Mt Ruapehu to New Zealand’s highest cafe, perched 2020m above sea level on Knoll Ridge. Survey super-sized views while enjoying a coffee or meal in the architecturally award-winning building.

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