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  2. Things to see and do
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  4. Whakapapa Ski Field and Happy Valley

Whakapapa Ski Field and Happy Valley

Whakapapa is home to NZ's largest gondola, the NEW 1.8km Sky Waka. Open year round. Whakapapa is NZ's largest ski area in winter and open for you to explore NZ's largest volcano in summer.

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With a rather challenging Winter season due to the impacts Covid-19, the outlook for Spring on the mountain is hopeful  Mount Ruapehu has announced that the 2020 Snow season will be extended until the middle of November, yes! Whakapapa will remain open until 15th November (conditions dependent of course), with Happy Valley closing prior on the 4th October .


All ticketing will be online.  There will be a very limited opportunity to purchase on-site but there will be no cash on the mountain this year.  Any payments will be card only in all of our outlets.

Lift Operations:

Lifts operations this 2020 winter season on Whakapapa will be limited. Due to the time lost through lockdown, alongside the inability to bring in overseas expertise to work on some of our lifts, this means we will not be able to open every lift this season.  Our focus has been on offering top to bottom skiing at both ski areas, with a beginner offer focused here at Whakapapa’s Happy Valley.

At Whakapapa, the following lifts will be in operation:

  • Happy Valley Carpets
  • Rangatira (Weekends and inclement weather days)
  • Sky Waka
  • Knoll T-Bar

The Valley T-Bar may open later in the season dependent on demand.

Big air above Knoll Ridge Cafe Whakapapa.jpg

Transport & Shuttles

RAL will not be offering customer shuttles for this season.  With the reduced capacity on the mountain, we see little need for a scheduled large capacity service, so will instead be recommending the local operators who can coordinate smaller numbers when the road is restricted.   Details can be found here.

Night Skiing 

Night skiing will not proceed for the 2020 winter season, however will be reviewed again for 2021.

First Tracks

First Tracks will not go ahead this season, however will be reviewed again for 2021.

The Mount Ruapehu Ohakune and Taupo Snow Depot will also remain closed for the 2020 Winter season. However will be reviewed again for 2021.

Services and Facilities 

Opening Times

  • 9am - 4pm 7 days  
  • Upper Mountain | 1st July - 15th November
  • Happy Valley | 1st July - 4th October

Getting Here

Ruapehu is located in the centre of New Zealand's North Island halfway between Auckland and Wellington - both less than 4 hours drive.

Kiwirail operates scenic rail services between Auckland and Wellington, with stops at National Park Village and Ohakune, and national bus operators offer daily services to the area. Closest airports are Taupo, Whanganui and Palmerston North.

More information

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