Whakapapa Ski field
Hitting the slopes in Whakapapa is one of the most popular winter activities for "kiwi"-skiers and winter sports enthusiasts.
Whether it’s exceptional dining, ‘Middle Earth’ touring or volcano skiing and snowboarding, there are plenty of reasons to spend ones ski holiday on Whakapapa ski field.
Ski Information for WhakapapaWhakapapa ski field is located on the north-western slopes of the majestic volcano, Mount Ruapehu, in North Island.
Situated in the World Heritage Tongariro National Park, the Whakapapa ski resort is just a 5-hour drive from Auckland and Wellington.
The highest peak in the national par reaches 2,797m and the terrain is a massive 550-hectare.
Skiing in Whakapapa ski resort is undoubtedly a treat with some of the most breathtaking views.
Whakapapa ski field lies on the north side of Mount Ruapehu. Combined with Turoa ski resort, which is located on the south-western slopes of the mountain, the entire ski field of Mount Ruapehu is considered the largest in New Zealand.
Although operated by the same lift company, the ski resorts are 80-minute drive apart. A traverse option, on the other hand, is available for true experts.
Should one be so keen on visiting the "other side" by ski, the guided hike starts from Whakapapa’s T-Bar or Turoa’s High Noon chairlift. The tour leads to Ruapehu’s crater where skiers can cruise down to the other side.
Skiable Terrain in WhakapapaThe Whakapapa ski terrain is perfect for families as well as experienced skiers. The ski season lasts from June to October and receives plenty of snow averaging 4meters annually.
The Whakapapa ski terrain is divided into two by a natural lava field. The West and the Eastside of the ski resort. The resort has over 44 marked pistes spread over the three main skiing areas, serviced by 13 ski lifts with a capacity of 15,000 guests per hour.
The ski area is diverse and runs are generally wide-open with countless off-piste opportunities and backcountry access.
Whakapapa Skiable Terrain for BeginnersThe Whakapapa ski resort offers one-third of its terrain to beginners. Wide gentle slopes appear at the base area with two high-altitude greens for confident beginners located near the Delta Chair station.
Separated from the main skiing areas, the Happy Valley at the base of the resort is perfect for children and first-timers. With ski lessons facility for the very young, beginner-friendly lifts such as magic carpets and cutting-edge snowmaking machines, the children will have some of the best prerequisites for learning how to ski. After some practice at the beginner’s area, novices can then head next to the Showcase, the Rockgarden, and the Tennant’s valley slopes just above the Happy Valley.
Whakapapa Skiable Terrain for Intermediate SkiersIntermediate skiing in Whakapapa is a delight as 50% of the resort’s skiing slopes are marked blue.
Most of the 30 groomed runs are located above the 2,000m altitude, ideal for cruisers and provides some of the best views in North Island.
Whakapapa Skiable Terrain for ExpertsAdvanced skiers have a chance to ski on an active volcano and explore Mt. Ruapehu’s superb off-piste terrain!
If cruising down a volcano is not enough, the demanding expert’s trails will surely get skiers’ adrenaline pumping. Whakapapa ski field has some of the best black diamonds runs in all of New Zealand.
Thanks to the old lava flows and naturally-formed half pipes, expert skiers can spend days on the slopes and still not get enough of the diverse, powder-filled runs. Most of the black runs are located near the Amphitheatre and the Waterfall Express. The Pinnacles have some double diamonds black trails that are sure to test the expertise and skiing skills of some of the most experienced skiers and snowboarders. The black runs near the West Ridge Quad are challenging and skiers get some adrenaline rush by skiing on these runs.
Afterski & Nightlife in Whakapapa
Skotel Alpine ResortLocated at the foot of Mount Ruapehu, Skotel Alpine Resort is a hotel and a bar with a fine list of wine to select from for après ski. The hotel offers a relaxing spa and refreshing sauna perfect after a thigh-burning skiing day on the slopes of the ski resort. The bar features an indoor restaurant with a fireplace where tourists can sit back and enjoy the nightlife Whakapapa offers.
The TussockFeaturing a large cozy outdoor deck for a great sunset view, Tussock is one of the best places at Whakapapa for après ski. The Kiwi pub is warm and cozy and serves American foods in huge portions, including burgers, pizzas, chicken and fish and chips.
Visitors can play pool, enjoy karaoke singing, and watch music videos on a big white screen. The Tussock pub serves from 3 pm onwards and is located near the Chateau Tongariro.
Pihanga Café and T-Bar at Chateau TongariroPihanga Café and T-Bar is a bar and café which serves alcohol and food, bistro style. Guests can look forward to mouthwatering café menus such as Italian pizzas, churros, portions of pasta and espresso and smoothies.
At the T-Bar, guests can enjoy refreshing Kiwi beers and the famous mulled wine, one of the top reasons why it is the favorite après-ski spot among locals and international guests.
Bayview Chateau Tongariro Dining RoomLast but not least is Bayview Chateau Tongariro Dining Room, which is also known as Chateau’s ballroom.
The restaurant lets visitors enjoy culinary delights from the continental breakfast buffet to the chef’s famous chateaubriand for dinner. It is one of the most glamorous après ski experience tourists can look forward to while visiting Whakapapa village.
Activities in Whakapapa
A skier’s paradise for all skiing levels and abilities, the resort has something even for couples and families. Whakapapa offers a complete range of memorable and adventure-filled winter activities.
Heli HikeHiking through majestic glaciers in addition to a panoramic and exciting helicopter ride is one of the most famous winter activity in Whakapapa. Walking through the glacier’s constantly changing routes, leading to narrow crevasses and towering ice walls, the experience is highly recommended for those who want to feel adrenaline rush. The hike takes around 3 hours and the knowledgeable and professional guides will help you navigate and explore the area.
Scenic Bus Rides to the Ski FieldThere are several ways to enjoy the beauty of Whakapapa and Mount Ruapehu in winter aside from skiing and hiking.
Whakapapa Transfers lets you avail a picturesque bus ride offering spectacular views of volcanoes and mountains glistening in white snow.
CampingWhakapapa Village also offers visitors to camp at night. The camping accommodation is not expensive and a perfect adventure for those who wish to experience the beauty of snow covered mountains.
Scenic FlightsWhile visiting Whakapapa Village during winters, one must not miss a chance to see Mount Ruapehu’s glaciers and nearby frozen lakes and rivers. Scenic helicopter flights are one of the activities that allow guest to have a glimpse of the volcano’s 18 majestic ice sheets and tour over NZ’s oldest National Park and Dual World Heritage Site.
Taupo Airport Km