The crater lake lookout point at the summit of Mount Ruapehu is at 2672 m above sea level. From rugged volcanic rock in summer, to snow and ice in winter, the terrain is varied and challenging. You must be confident finding your own safe route up and down the mountain, the crater climb is only suitable for fit, experienced, and well equipped people who can make effective judgments about alpine and volcanic hazards.
Therefore we strongly recommend a guided trip either through Mt Ruapehu Summer Magic or Adrift Guided Outdoor Adventures. During winter and times of snow, surface conditions will vary from day to day. Crampons and ices axes are required and your guide will provide instruction on how to use them correctly.
The walk begins at the Whakapapa Ski area at the top of the Bruce Road on Mt Ruapehu. There may be an option of taking a chairlift up to Knoll Ridge cafe depening on weather conditions and the group's preference on the day. The walking distance is 10kms return, and will take around 6-7 hours.
The reward for your efforts is lunch on top of the North Island's highest volcano from where you can gaze down into the geothermal waters of the crater lake. On your way up and down take time to enjoy the truly spectacular views.