At 2,797 metres, Mt Ruapehu is the North Island of New Zealand's tallest mountain. This multi-peaked summit presides over other mountains, deserts, lakes, alpine rivers, volcanoes and wilderness. The Maori translation for Ruapehu means ‘pit to explode’, which is apt, as it is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Mt Ruapehu erupted as recently as 2012.
In winter Mt Ruapehu turns into a playground for snow sport enthusiasts. Locals and visitors clamber to the mountain’s two commercial skifields – Whakapapa Ski Area (New Zealand’s largest Ski Area) and Turoa Ski Area, spouting the highest lift access terrain in New Zealand.
Whakapapa and Turoa Ski Areas have a combined skiable area of 1,050 hectares making it the largest area dedicated to skiing in New Zealand. Both have an excellent variety of terrain to suit all levels of skiers and snowboarders, as well as dedicated areas for sledding, tobogganing and tubing.
Whakapapa Ski Area is New Zealand's largest ski area and Turoa boasts one of the longest vertical drop in Australasia - 722 metres. Both ski areas are located within the Tongariro National Park, a Dual World Heritage Area, and have the highest lift accessed terrain in New Zealand.
You can also try Tukino Ski Field, Mount Ruapehu's lesser-known gem, located on the eastern side of the mountain. Tukino Ski Field offers the rare combination of adventure minus the crowds. Tukino is a club field, operated and maintained by club members.
Taupo and Turangi are the best places to base yourself if you are planning a New Zealand ski or snowboarding holiday. The variety of après ski and off mountain activities are endless if the weather gods are not playing nicely.
You will find everything you need to have a great time on the mountain in Taupo or Turangi - including ski and snowboard rental and tuning, outdoor clothing rental and retailers, ski packages including lessons, transport to the ski areas and, of course, a wide range of accommodation options.