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Discover Mt Ruapehu

Mt Ruapehu, one of New Zealand's most iconic landmarks, standing tall in the central North Island within Tongariro National Park.
ski season 2024

Ski Tūroa Skifield

ski season 2024

Ski Whakapapa Skifield

Lord of the Rings

Visit Gollum's Pool at Mt Ruapehu

Mt Ruapehu, one of New Zealand's most iconic landmarks

Mt Ruapehu is the highest peak on the North Island, at an impressive 2,797 meters (9,177 feet). It is located in the central North Island within Tongariro National Park.

Mt Ruapehu is one of three volcanoes – Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu.

Mt Ruapehu is a testament to New Zealand’s natural beauty and cultural richness. Whether you’re carving down its snowy slopes, hiking to its crater lake, or simply soaking in the stunning views, offering experiences like no other. Its unique combination of adventure, history, and natural wonders makes it a must-visit destination for travellers seeking thrill and tranquillity.

Ruapehu means “pit of noise” or “exploding pit” in Māori.[4] This active stratovolcano is a geographical marvel and a cultural and historical site, deeply significant to the indigenous Māori people.

UNESCO World Heritage Status

In 1990, Tongariro National Park, which encompasses Mt Ruapehu, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. This dual-status recognition highlights both its natural and cultural importance. The park is celebrated for its unique volcanic features, diverse ecosystems, and the cultural heritage of the Māori people. It was the first property in the world to be inscribed under the revised criteria describing cultural landscapes, emphasizing the deep connection between the indigenous culture and the natural environment.

Mt Ruapehu Ski Area, North Island - New Zealand

Is Mt Ruapehu open for 2024?

Yes, Mt Ruapehu will be open for 2024. However, several things have changed on Mt Ruapehu since last season. Turoa and Whakapapa are now seperate ski fields.
Ski Mt Ruapehu

Ski Mt Ruapehu. Essential 2024 Ski Guide for Beginners

First time to ski Mt Ruapehu? We all remember our first trip to ski Mt Ruapehu. This guide covers everything you need to know to make the most of your skiing trip.
Spring skiing at Whakapapa ski field, Mt Ruapehu 2023

Spring skiing at Mt Ruapehu 2023

Spring skiing at Mt Ruapehu offers some of the best spring skiing in New Zealand. The mountain’s sun touched slopes undergo a transformation in spring.
Tawhia (Gollum's Pool)

Tawhai Falls Video (Gollum’s Pool)

Nestled within the breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park lies Tawhai Falls (Gollum's Pool). A film location for Peter Jackson’s iconic “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy.
The Chateau Tongariro

The Chateau Tongariro, an iconic landmark

Sometimes, a place can become so entwined with memories that it becomes the memory itself – The Tongariro Chateau was such a place.

Winter at Mt Ruapehu

A premier winter destination. The mountain hosts two major ski fields: Whakapapa Ski Area and Pure Tūroa Ski Area.

Summer at Mt Ruapehu

While winter brings snow and skiing, summer at the mountain offers an entirely different but equally thrilling experience.

Historical Overview

The mountain has a rich and storied history, both geologically and culturally. The mountain’s formation dates back around 200,000 years, with its volcanic activity playing a crucial role in shaping the surrounding landscape.

The first recorded ascent of Ruapehu was in 1879 by Englishman Reverend John Bates, who was guided by local Māori. Since then, the mountain has attracted countless adventurers and nature enthusiasts from around the globe.

Hiking and Trekking

The mountain and surrounding areas are a hiker’s paradise. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, often cited as one of the best day hikes in the world, traverses the volcanic landscape between Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe, offering stunning views. For those looking to summit Ruapehu itself, the hike to the crater lake is a challenging but rewarding adventure.

Mountain Biking

The rugged terrain is perfect for mountain biking. Numerous trails cater to all skill levels, from gentle rides through native bush to adrenaline-pumping downhill tracks. The Old Coach Road, a historic trail linking two railheads, is a popular biking route combining history, scenery, and adventure.

Scenic Chairlift Rides

During the summer, the ski field chairlifts transform into scenic rides, allowing visitors to enjoy the breathtaking views without skis or snowboards. These rides provide access to hiking trails, alpine meadows, and spectacular lookout points.

Natural Wonders

Beyond the thrill of adventure, Mt Ruapehu is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. The lower slopes are covered in lush native bush, including beech forests and tussock grasslands. As the altitude increases, the vegetation transitions to alpine plants that have adapted to the harsh, volcanic environment.

The mountain’s unique geology and geothermal activity are also significant draws. Hot springs, steaming vents, and fumaroles dot the landscape, starkly contrasting the snowy peaks and lush valleys. These geothermal features are a testament to the dynamic and ever-changing nature of Ruapehu.

Practical Information for Visitors

When planning a trip, there are several important considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Accommodation: There are numerous accommodation options in the nearby towns of Ohakune, National Park Village, and Whakapapa Village. Choices range from budget-friendly hostels to luxury lodges, ensuring something for every traveller.

  2. Safety: Mt Ruapehu is an active volcano, and while eruptions are infrequent, they do occur. It’s essential to check for any volcanic activity warnings and follow the advice of local authorities. Weather conditions can also change rapidly, especially in winter, so being prepared and informed is crucial.

  3. Getting There: The mountain is accessible by car, with well-maintained roads leading to the ski fields and various trailheads. Public transport options are also available, including shuttle services from nearby towns.

  4. Respecting the Environment: As a protected area, you must minimize your impact by following Leave No Trace principles. This includes taking all rubbish with you, staying on marked trails, and respecting wildlife.