Getting to the Snow

You've got to Great Lake Taupo, now you just need to get to those white, fluffy, snowy mountains. Here's how!

Whakapapa Ski Area and Happy Valley Snowpark

Mount Ruapehu snow shuttle

Take the stress out of a trip to the snow with this coach service to Whakapapa Ski Area and Happy Valley Snow Park.

Bookings need to be made prior to travelling by contacting the Taupo Snow Depot. The mountain shuttle departs from Whakapapa Ski Area at 4pm to return to Taupo and Turangi.

Taupo to Whakapapa Ski Area Return

Cost - $39 Adult, $29 Youth/Child, 2 years & under FREE

Departure - 8am from Taupo Snow Depot

Turangi to Whakapapa Ski Area Return

Cost - $29 Adult, $19 Youth/Child, 2 years & under FREE

Departure - 8.45am from Turangi Bus Stop

Self drive

The route from Taupo to Mt Ruapehu is a stunning drive through the landscape of Tongariro National Park. You will drive around Lake Taupo, through native forest, tussock lands and the three volcanoes of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu. It’s well worth the trip, even if you’re not planning to ski or snowboard!

Taupo to Whakapapa: 1hr 15mins
Turangi to Whakapapa: 40mins

Winter road conditions

There may be times when snow chains and/or 4WD are required on the Bruce Road due to winter snowfall and icy conditions. Chains are available for hire at some rental outlets throughout the region, but not in Whakapapa Village.


It pays to check the road conditions on the Whakapapa Snow Report and hire chains, if needed, before you start your drive. If you don’t want to drive your own vehicle up the mountain in conditions that require chains, mountain transport/shuttle buses are available from Taupo, Turangi and Whakapapa Village.

Turoa Ski Area

Self drive

Taupo - Turoa Ski Area: 2hrs
Turangi - Turoa Ski Area: 1hr 15mins

Winter road conditions

There may be times when chains and/or 4WD are required on the Mountain Road due to winter snowfall and/or icy conditions. Chains are available for hire at chainfitting areas on the Mountain Road and from some rental outlets in Ohakune.

Road conditions can be checked on the Turoa Snow Report. If you don’t want to drive your own vehicle up the mountain in these conditions, mountain transport/shuttle buses are available from Ohakune.

Tukino Ski Field

Self drive

Taupo - Tukino Ski Field: 1hr 15 min
Turangi - Tukino Ski Field: 40 mins

Winter road conditions

You can drive the first 7km of the road in a 2WD vehicle from the Desert Road to ‘Base Camp’. From here you will either need an off-road 4WD vehicle to continue over the last 7km, or you can contact Tukino Ski Field on 06 387 6294 or 021 0277 4559 and arrange transport to the ski area.


You will need to call in advance to check that a shuttle will be available on the day of your visit. Please note that 4WD vehicles may be required to fit chains in certain conditions.


It is important that you do not attempt to drive up the Tukino mountain road until you have confirmed (via the Snowphone – 06 825 8111 or the online Tukino snow report) that the road is open.