2 July 2018

Everything you need to know about Whakapapa Ski Field, NZ

When people get asked what their happy place is, many usually answer with the beach or some form of water. Mine is sitting at the very top of Whakapapa Ski Field, looking down at the best playground Mother Nature ever built.

During winter, this is my second home. I am lucky to have a mother who skis and she passed this awesome sport on to all of her children. At the age of five, I began shredding fresh tracks on Whakapapa, and by fourteen, I levelled up to snowboarding.

Being overseas, I missed my favourite ski field for several years but I'm back now living in New Zealand with a fresh season pass.

How to get to Whakapapa ski field

Whakapapa is New Zealand’s largest ski field, encompassing 550 hectares of terrain on Mount Ruapehu, a breathing, active volcano. 
Located in the middle of the North Island, it is easily accessible from any of the major cities. You can take a great Kiwi road trip from either Auckland or Wellington and be there in just over four hours.

The scenic approach to the mountain will take you through Tongariro National Park, New Zealand’s oldest national park and a dual World Heritage site.
You will pass through ancient native forests and desert landscapes nestled between three impressive volcanoes; Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu.

Whakapapa trails and Happy Valley

For anyone who hasn’t been to the snow, it doesn’t get more epic that standing, sliding, skiing or boarding on a huge volcano.

Whakapapa offers amazing trails for all ability levels with wide open fields, steep drops, chutes and snow-filled basins, all available by lift access.

It is home to Happy Valley, New Zealand's largest beginner ski and snow play area, with superb facilities to learn skiing and snowboarding.

Private or group lessons are available from qualified instructors who come from all over the world. They are some of the friendliest and most easy-going people you will meet. They teach not only the basics but can upskill you all the way to Jedi-Master level.

Once you have conquered Happy Valley, you can work your way up to the lower and upper mountain where a wide range of intermediate and advanced runs and terrains lovingly await you.

There is nothing quite like catching a chairlift all the way to the top of Whakapapa, with the incredible postcard views. The view of the dominating Mount Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom for Lord of the Rings fans) is unbeatable.

Where to stay near Whakapapa ski field

There are many great accommodation options available nearby, whether you stay one night or settle in for longer. From budget-friendly hostels to the more upmarket hotels, there is something to suit everyone’s wallet.

The closest points to stay at are National Park (20 minutes’ drive away) and Turangi (40 minutes’ drive away). Taupo is another popular option to overnight in. As the largest nearby city, there is a wider range of accommodation choices and only a one-hour and 15-minute drive to Whakapapa.

There are also regular shuttle and bus services to Whakapapa available from Taupo, Turangi and National Park if you choose not to drive.

Whakapapa weather and ski season dates

World-class snowmaking facilities meant Happy Valley opened for business this winter on the 2nd of June. The lower and upper mountain opened June 29th.

Whakapapa boasts New Zealand's longest ski season and is usually open until the end of October for the best spring skiing and riding in the country. The mountain is open daily from 9 to 4, weather dependent.

Whakapapa ski gear

A good snow bunny’s uniform includes waterproof ski pants, a warm, waterproof jacket, warm layers underneath of thermals, merino, woollens etc, a warm hat, waterproof gloves and polarised sunglasses/ski goggles.

Don’t forget to bring sunblock; the sun can be extra harsh from the reflection of the snow.

You can hire any gear you need from the well-equipped rental outlet at Whakapapa.
This includes skis, snowboards, boots, helmets, warm and waterproof outerwear, all correctly fitted to your needs.

For those who use a dislike of the cold as an excuse to stay away from the snow, did you know it can be so warm on a sunny day that you can peel your layers off down to a t-shirt?

The weather is unpredictable, however, and can often change quite quickly. It's wise to be prepared, even for those forecasted sunny days.

My recommendations

As a tip, if you can get there during the weekdays it's a lot less crowded than going on a weekend. Better to avoid the school holidays too, unless of course, you're bringing your own little ones.

On family excursions, we brought our own food from home to save money. In our daypacks, we each carried a thermos of hot soup, egg sandwiches and some chocolate to snack on.
Nowadays I savour a mid-morning barista coffee from one of their three great cafes that offer unbeatable views.

Knoll Ridge Cafe, in particular, is New Zealand's highest cafe and a must-do. The award-winning cafe has a wide range of food options with picture-perfect views and warm hospitality. It makes breaking for lunch an experience in itself.

The feeling of sitting on top of the world is a freeing experience you can’t put a price on.
The pure joy of skiing and snowboarding on Whakapapa’s fresh powder amongst such stunning scenery is truly remarkable.

It is worth the cost, it is worth getting up in the dark for the long drive, it is worth sore legs the next day. It is the best feeling!

If you are heading to New Zealand this winter or are one of the many Kiwis who still haven’t been to the snow, make 2018 the year to come.
It is an experience you will never forget and one that will almost certainly hook you into coming back again and again.

Hit the slopes at Whakapapa this year and come ride an epic volcano!

Have you been to Whakapapa or are you planning to go this year? Let me know in the comments below. Might see you there!

Happy Travels,
Pin it :)


  1. As a travel lover, New Zealand is always on my list to visit. Sadly, I have not been given a chance to do so. However. after reading your post, it gives me the incentive to try harder and step my foot on New Zealand.

  2. Wow, this looks so beautiful and serene. I've never been skiing before OR to New Zealand. Definitely on my bucket lists!

  3. Absolutely gorgeous views! I think that is one of the best parts about skiing big mountains. I haven't been skiing in about 5 years and this is making me mis it.

  4. New Zealand is definitely on my list of places to visit. Because of the opposite seasons from the US, we would probably go when the kids are on summer break, meaning winter there. I've been water skiing many times (I grew up going out on the boat every weekend in south Florida) but I've never done it on the snow!

  5. So beautiful. I don't know why but I never thought that New Zealand was a place known for skiing.

  6. Ooooh this looks like it was a lot of fun! A trip worth making.

  7. This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post. Also, I’ve shared your website in my social networks!
    shipping bar app
    Shopify free shipping bar app

  8. One thing I want to talk to you is thank you. Your posts help me open my mind. I find them very interesting. They ease me in the hard time. Thanks for sharing your articles.
    currency converter master
    currency converter portable

  9. Amazing experience Thanks for sharing these all wonderful photographs of this tour with us. I really glad to read this travel guide that you have shared with us. The great guide keeps sharing. Overnight Agra Tour

  10. It’s really extraordinary and informational blog such a good thinking. It's in reality a great and useful piece of information. I'm glad you have this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.
    facebook messenger online
    facebook chat box

  11. I’m excited to uncover this page. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your sitea
    Discount master by autoketing 2018, Discount master 2018, autoketing

  12. You know what? I really like your posts. I wander on the internet to find something new or unique. And I see your articles. I decided to linger at your site and read more and more. I hope that you can upload new posts. I will be the first one to read them. Thanks a million
    y8y8y8 2 player games for school
    kizi games online
    gogy for free

  13. I will be happy if you read my comment. I must say that I like all your posts and wait for new ones. That's because they seem so great and suitable for me. Thanks a ton for uploading your articles.
    Moto X3M 4 Winter racing games || Hilly.io games online free || games Xmas Magic Tiles to play

  14. Your posts are my cup of tea. I'm interested in your articles. I always read them everyday and wait for incoming ones. It's because your posts are interesting.
    Santa Snake games hot unblcoked || Adam And Eve 5 Part 1 games puzle || Click here to play Icy Purple Head

  15. Your writings are so good. They contains a bunch of information. I think that you know much about those topics. I want to send a thank to you. Your posts can help me more and more in the future. Once again thank you.
    free games Short Ride || Kindergarten Dress Up 2 player games || Moto X3M 2 action games unboloced

  16. One thing I want to talk to you is thank you. Your posts help me open my mind. I find them very interesting. They ease me in the hard time. Thanks for sharing your articles.
    rise up up games
    snail bob 7 fantasy story free
    red ball 5 online

  17. I am so amazed to see that NZ is also known for skiworld D
    really interesting and much appreciated :)

  18. I am truly thankful for your blog entry. You will discover a great deal of methodologies in the wake of going to your post. I was precisely scanning for. A debt of gratitude is in order for such post and please keep it up.
    snowboard bag sale


Blogger Template Created by pipdig