A ski vacation on New Zealand‘s North Island is an unforgettable experience. Mount Ruapehu is the largest of three magnificent volcanoes that make up the Tongariro National Park. This is a rare, dual World Heritage Park in recognition of Tongariro’s awesome natural beauty and cultural significance. Mt Ruapehu (rua = “pit”, pehu = “to explode”) is just four hours from either Auckland or Wellington and even closer from Waitomo Caves and Rotorua. Skiing is only one of the many experiences to cherish here. The fascinating history and heritage makes it a unique place to visit all year round. Ruapehu offers trekking in alpine territory, skiing, snowboarding, wilderness fishing or hunting. Mt Ruapehu is New Zealand’s largest ski area and includes Whakapapa and Turoa.
Whakapapa Ski Area is located on the north western slopes of Mt Ruapehu and offers spectacular views across central North Island on a clear day. Whakapapa offers thirty groomed trails and the highest lift system but is renowned for its world class beginner facilities in Happy Valley. Whakapapa has a north facing basin, many steep faces, slopes, and gullies which are a challenge and adventure playground for all levels of skiers, beginners to advanced, and snowboarders looking for some excitement.
It has been recently enlarged by a third and is the ideal place to learn skiing and snowboarding in a safe environment. Its wide gentle slopes make it a popular homing ground for first time ski and snowboarders. Happy Valley has separate ski hire facilities and a 120-seat cafeteria to recharge one’s batteries!
Turoa Ski Area is located on the south western slopes of Mt Ruapehu and has spectacular views in the direction of Mt Taranaki. It offers 22 groomed trails for skiers but Turoa is more famous for having New Zealand’s best Terrain Park for snowboarders. This dedicated terrain park has a permanent half pipe and the resort team creates the best pipes and parks in the country. Turoa also features a separate learner’s area.
Experts can enjoy off piste skiing at Mt Ruapehu and explore the back country with the assistance of experienced guides. Ski passes are valid at both Whakapapa and Turoa offering visitors more variety and interest. Winter skiing season runs from late June to Mid November