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Ski Information for Whakapapa

Whakapapa ski resort is located on the north-western slopes of the majestic volcano, Mount Ruapehu, in North Island. Lying within the World Heritage Tongariro National Park, the ski resort is just a 5-hour drive from Auckland and Wellington. With a peak of 2,797m and a massive 550-hectare terrain, skiing in Whakapapa ski resort is a treat with some of the most breathtaking views.

Combined with Turoa ski resort, located on the south-western slopes of the volcano, the entire ski field in 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 experts. The guided hike starts from Whakapapa’s T-Bar or Turoa’s High Noon chairlift and leads to Ruapehu’s crater where advanced skiers can cruise down to the other side.

Skiable Terrain in Whakapapa

The Whakapapa ski terrain is perfect for families despite being a haven for experienced skiers. As any other New Zealand ski resorts, Whakapapa’s ski season is 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 East side and the special beginners’ area called Happy Valley are all located above the tree line. The resort has over 44 marked pistes spread over the three main skiing areas, serviced by 14 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 Beginners

The Whakapapa ski resort offers 25% of its terrain to beginners with some wide gentle slopes at the base area and two high-altitude greens for confident beginners located near the Delta Chair station with fantastic views of the resort.

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, beginner-friendly lifts and magic carpets and cutting-edge snowmaking machines. 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 Skiers

Intermediate 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 Experts

Advanced 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 as Whakapapa owns some of the best black diamonds and double diamonds in New Zealand.

Thanks to the old lava flows and naturally-formed half pipes, expert skiers can spend days on the slopes and 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

Whakapapa offers skiers a one of its kind nightlife. Skiers will not only get a chance to party wildly at the bars, but they can also enjoy excellent meals as the food and wine collection are among the best features of clubs at Whakapapa Village. Whakapapa does not focus on après-ski but on skiing itself. Nevertheless, even in the largest ski area in New Zealand, skiers are well-supplied with local and international specialties. A highlight is clearly the sun terrace of the "Knoll Ridge Chalet" situated next to the same name drag lift "Knoll Ridge T-Bar." The resort offers a truly unique experience that will leave a lasting impression! After the lifts close, there is a pub at the “Chateau Whakapapa” where winter enthusiasts can let the evening wind down. Here’s an additional list of popular après locations in Whakapapa.

Skotel Alpine Resort

Located 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 Tussock

Featuring 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 musical videos on a big white screen. The Tussock pub serves from 3pm onwards and is located near the Chateau Tongariro.

Pihanga Café and T-Bar at Chateau Tongariro

Pihanga Café and T-Bar is a bar and café which serves alcohol and food, bistro style. Guests can look forward to mouthwatering café menu such as Italian pizzas, churros and pastas 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 Room

Last but not the least is Bayview Chateau Tongariro Dining Room, which is also known as Chateau’s ballroom. The restaurant lets visitors enjoy culinary delights from 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

Thanks to its great location, Whakapapa village is a place for people who are looking for a unique winter holiday. A skier’s paradise for all skiing levels and abilities, the resort has something even for couples and families. The winter activities at the resort will give skiing enthusiasts the chance to visit Whakapapa with families. Whakapapa offers a complete range of memorable and adventure-filled winter activities. Some of the most popular winter activities are:

Heli Hike

Hiking 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 Field

There 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.


Whakapapa Village also offers the 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 Flights

While 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 allows 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.
Getting there
Nearest Airports:
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