Ski Resort Whakapapa Mt Ruapehu tmp Mt Ruapehu Region: Position on map

Whakapapa Mt Ruapehu Ski Resort

Iwikau, Happy Valley

Trail Map Whakapapa Mt Ruapehu

The Ski Resort

The new 10-passenger gondola Sky Waka leads to the Knoll Ridge Chalet, where the highest restaurant in New Zealand is located at 2020m.
The new 10-passenger gondola Sky Waka leads to the Knoll Ridge Chalet, where the highest restaurant in New Zealand is located at 2020m. © LEITNER ropeways

Whakapapa is New Zealand's largest ski resort. It is located on Mt Ruapehu (2,797m), the highest mountain on the North Island. The active volcano is also home to Turoa, another, smaller ski resort. Whakapapa has suitable runs for every level, although the majority is intended for more advanced skiers and snowboarders.

The longest gondola in New Zealand

In 2019, the new 10-passenger gondola "Sky Waka" by Leitner Ropeways was opened for 15 million euros. At 1.8 kilometers in length, it is the longest gondola in New Zealand. It leads to New Zealand's highest restaurant at 2020 meters (Knoll Ridge Café). This will allow 2600 people to be transported per hour. The 49 cabins are equipped with panoramic windows, leather seats and an audio system.

Special feature: Happy Valley

New Zealand's first seperate beginner's area, Happy Valley, is one of Whakapapa's special features. In this area, newbies get to practice their first steps among themselves, without getting in the way of swifter skiers. The long practice slope gives them the chance to get acquainted with skiing at their own pace. Getting to the top on an extra slow chairlift makes it easy to get accustomed to the new situation.

Many runs for experts

More advanced skiers and snowboarders will find 30 intermediate runs. With diverse routes and terrains  you certainly won't get bored. For true experts, Whakapapa offers 24 Black Diamond Runs. Furthermore, the Black Magic Backcountry Area provides a great freeride experience. The area can be accessed by lift.


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Interesting facts

  • Offering 2597 acres of slopes and terrain, Whakapapa Mt Ruapehu is the largest ski resort in New Zealand.
  • Whakapapa Mt Ruapehu is among the 3 best rated Ski Resorts in New Zealand.
  • Elevated between 5348 ft and 7612 ft, the Ski Resort is among the 3 highest elevated Ski Resorts in New Zealand. The vertical drop from summit to base is 2264 ft. The average difference in altitude between base and summit of Ski Resorts in New Zealand is 1545 ft. Most runs are therefore relatively long.
  • Snow coverage is usually best during September, offering an average snow depth of 78 " at summit elevation and 50 " at the base. Therefore Whakapapa Mt Ruapehu is among the 3 ski Resorts with best snow conditions in New Zealand.
  • Whakapapa Mt Ruapehu features 13 sunny days on average per season. The average for all ski Resorts in New Zealand is 24 sunny days. August is the sunniest month with an average of 5 sunny days.

On Mountain Dining

Whakapapa has a variety of dining facilities. 

Knoll Ridge Cafe is New Zealand's highest situated café. Its location presents you with a unique view of the resort. On the menu you will find dishes from around the world, fresh salads, as well as a variety of snacks. 

Happy Valley Bistro is found right by the beginner's area. Hence, it is especially suited for families. The restaurant is known for its delicious pizzas and hot dogs. After your meal you can warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee.

Lorenzs' Bar and Cafe is situated by the valley station. Indulge in a hearty breakfast in the morning or enjoy a nice cold beer at the end of your day.

Must-Ski Runs

At four kilometers long and with a drop of 675 meters, Whakapapa's longest run is the valley run. 



Mt Ruapehu - Whakapapa Brand Film.
Whakapapa | Skiing in New Zealand's North Island
Mt Ruapehu - Striking gold on New Zealand’s North Island.
Mt Ruapehu, NZ


If you spend your winter holiday at Mt Ruapehu, you shouldn't miss the neighbouring ski resort Turoa. While smaller than Whakapapa, the ski resort offers some additional easy, intermediate, and expert terrain, as well as a number of powder runs. Moreover, it is home to New Zealand's highest lift, Highnoon Express.


Infrastructure & Rental


Number of Ski Rental

Ski Rental

Getting here

By car:

Mt Ruapehu is located approximately halfway between Auckland and Wellington. The easiest way to get there is by following State Highway 4 until National Park. From there, Highway 47 leads directly to Whakapapa.

About the author
last update on May 6, 2024
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Ruapehu Alpine Lifts
Top of Bruce Road
Whakapapa, Mt Ruapehu Tongariro National Park
Phone+64 7 808 6151


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Mountain Stats

Elevation5348 ft - 7612 ft
Opening DayJul 6, 2024
Closing DayOct 20, 2024
Capacity 13705 Persons/Hr.
Hours9:00 AM - 4:00 PM


Total 12

Skiable Terrain

2597 acres
Green Circle
Blue Squared
Black Diamond
Double Diamond
Overall Slope Area 2597 acres

Weather (7618 ft)


1 day adult NZD149
1 day youth NZD99
1 day child NZD99
All rates & fees