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  2. Things to see and do
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  4. Happy Valley

Happy Valley

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Learning to Ski at Happy Valley, Mt Ruapehu, New Zealand

Happy Valley caters beautifully to beginners with the much loved learning area.

In its own valley, complete with a chairlift, cafe, rental complex and ski school, it provides the perfect playground for families who are seeking their first snow experience.

Happy Valley features a dedicated zone with its own covered surface lifts well away from the skiing and boarding public so the little ones are safe while tobogganing and building snowmen. 

Getting the most out of your Happy Valley experience

Planning your first trip to the snow

We want your experience at Happy Valley to be enjoyable so have put together a few things that will help plan your day and make things run seamlessly. 

Opening Hours

Happy Valley will be opening June 2 – October 22 2018

During the winter facilities open from 9am - 4pm Monday - Sunday.

You should prepare to spend the full day at the Mountain. 


Snow Play, Happy Valley Whakapapa.

Getting Here

Situated in the centre of New Zealand's North Island and located on the north-west slopes of Mt Ruapehu, Happy Valley is easily accessible from all directions. 

By car, Happy Valley  and Whakapapa ski field is accessed from Bruce Road, a 6km sealed road. Depending on your time of arrival will reflect how close to the ski field you will be able to park.  If, due to weather conditions, chains are required please not there is no chain hire on the Bruce Road to Whakapapa, however, there are a number of shuttle services departing Taupo, National Park, Whakapapa Village and Ohakune offering transport to the top of the Bruce Road every day.

A list of shuttle providers can be found here

What to Bring

Boots or shoes with a bit of a tread for all family members ‐ snow and ice can be slippery!

Sunscreen and lip balm to protect you and your family from the sun's harmful UV rays

Warm waterproof pants and jacket (rentals are available on the mountain)

Eye protection is important, even on cloudy days – and don’t forget goggles or sunnies for the kids!

A hat such as a woollen beanie and a scarf or neck warmer for everyone

Waterproof gloves

Plenty of layers such as thermal underwear, polar fleeces, t‐shirts, skivvies, wool garments ‐ avoid cotton if possible.  It might seem like a nice day when you first set off, conditions on the mountain can change quickly and it is best to be prepared.

It is always recommended to leave what you may not use during the day at home, securely stored out of site in your vehicle, or in one of the locker/bag check facilities located at the base area of Whakapapa.

Food and Refreshments

Happy Valley Bistro is situated in the Happy Valley and offers a range of cold and hot food for the entire family to enjoy. Lorenzs' Bar and Cafe is situated in Whakapapa’s base area and has a full array of food including a breakfast menu to fuel you for your day.

You are also more than welcome to bring your own food and beverages to keep you going throughout the day.    


At Whakapapa there are cash out facilities at the base area inside Lorenz's Bar & Cafe

What Lift Passes you Need

For information on Happy Valley starter packages please visit here


Your snow plans are heavily reliant on the weather, please make sure you check the snow report before embarking on your travels to avoid disappointment.   Up-to-date weather reports can be found here

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