Road trip from Taupo to Whakapapa Ski Area
The stretch of State Highway 1 from Taupo to Turangi must be one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand. On one side the road hugs the shores of Lake Taupo, on the other forestry and native bush. The photo stops and picnic spots are endless. Lake Taupo is New Zealand and Australasia's largest freshwater lake. It is one of the cleanest lakes in the world. You will find the vast expanse of crystal clear water mesmerising.
From Turangi, you start to weave uphill towards the Tongariro National Park. This National Park has Dual World Heritage status for its natural beauty and cultural significance. It is easy to see why the local Maori hold the majestic mountains, Tongairo, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe as sacred. With winter snowfall covering their peaks, they are a truly awe-inspiring sight.
Whakapapa Ski Area
Breathe in that fresh mountain air and soak in the winter snow vibes! Whakapapa Ski Area is New Zealand’s largest commercial ski area. Watch the skiers and snowboarders show off their moves and enjoy the fresh crunch of snow under your feet.
Scenic Chairlift Ride
From the base of Whakapapa Ski Area, you can take a scenic chairlift ride up the mountain to the Knoll Ridge Cafe. On a clear day you can see right across the North Island of New Zealand's Central Plateau from Mt Taranaki to Lake Taupo. Definitely a must do!
New Zealand's Highest Cafe
Situated at 2,020m above sea level, Whakapapa Ski Area's Knoll Ridge Cafe is New Zealand’s highest cafe. Here you will find great coffee, gourmet fare and incredible views overlooking the Pinnacles and out over the Central Plateau of New Zealand's North Island. Find out more about the Knoll Ridge Cafe here.
Happy Valley Snow Park
Throw a snowball, build a snowman or try tobogganing in New Zealand's largest beginner ski and snow play area. Or just watch some other people at it! Find out more about Happy Valley Snow Park here.
Wind your way back down the Bruce Road to Whakapapa Village and stop at the iconic Chateau Tongariro. Relax over a high tea, a drink or meal amongst the timeless elegance of Chateau Tongariro.
Located within Whakapapa Village at the base of the ski area, the building was constructed in 1929. The views of the mountains and the Tongariro National Park from the hotel's bars and restaurants are stunning. Find out more about Chateau Tongariro here.
Make your way back home via Turangi's Tongariro Lodge. This authentic fishing lodge has oodles of New Zealand charm. Situated on the banks of the legendary Tongariro River on the southern shores of Lake Taupo. Lounge by the fire with a drink or indulge in one of their winter dining options.