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Ruapehu, New ZealandRuapehu Regional Information

Ruapehu | Regional Information | Activity Highlights | Scenic Highlights | History



You can't escape the gaze of the huge volcanoes that mark the heart of this astonishing landscape. Explore the wild scenery in Ruapehu on foot, on skis or from the rapids of a river.

Ruapehu Overview

Ruapehu, New Zealand
Ruapehu, New Zealand

The Ruapehu district is located in the central North Island, midway between Auckland and Wellington. The Desert Road section of Highway 1 is the eastern boundary and scenic Highway 4 provides access to the centre of the region.

Ruapehu's main settlements are the ski towns of National Park and Ohakune, and the rural service centre of Taumarunui, nestled on the banks of the Whanganui and Ongarue rivers. Local knowledge and expert guides make it easy to discover the region's famous hiking trails, fishing spots, kayaking, canoeing, horse riding and mountain biking experiences.

The Ruapehu region is home to the Tongariro National Park, the Whanganui National Park and the Whanganui River. It is a four-hour drive from Auckland or Wellington and close to Waitomo Caves, Rotorua and Taupo.

Ruapehu Highlights

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Tongariro National Park, Ruapehu, New Zealand
Tongariro National Park, Ruapehu
Photographer: Rob Suisted
(www.naturespic.com)

The 80,000 hectares Tongariro National Park (a World Heritage Area) is the centre of attraction for this district. The active volcano Mount Ruapehu dominates the landscape, rising to 2,797 metres from the surrounding countryside. It has Mount Ngauruhoe (also active) and Mount Tongariro to keep it company. The three volcanoes are a spectacular sight on a clear day—in the colder months they are capped in snow.

Mount Ruapehu is the site of the North Island's premier ski fields—Whakapapa and Turoa. The mountain was recently chosen by movie director Peter Jackson to play Mt Doom in his 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy. In summer the surrounding volcanic desert area is a wild and beautiful place for hiking, fishing and adventure activities.

To the west of the three volcanoes lies the deep green mystery of the Whanganui National Park, which is steeped in Maori and European colonial history. The Whanganui River is the main access route to the forest clad interior—jetboats and kayaks are popular modes of transport. The small townships on the riverbanks all have fascinating stories to tell. Jerusalem was once the home of James K. Baxter, one of New Zealand's most celebrated poets and an early 'alternative lifestyler'.

Main Centres in the Ruapehu Region

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand.Desert Road in the Rangipo Desert, Ruapehu, New Zealand
Desert Road, Rangipo Desert
Ruapehu
Photographer: David Wall
(www.davidWallPhoto.com)
  • Ohakune - apres-ski centre for region
  • Taumarunui - largest town and the region's main service centre

Useful Ruapehu Links

To help plan your Ruapehu holiday choose from the main categories below:

Ruapehu Region Information

Ruapehu Tourism Operators

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Mainstay New Zealand Hotels

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Large collection of independent hotels.

Choice Hotels

Choice Hotels

Holiday packages for any occasion.

Distinction Hotels

Distinction Hotels

Great hotels in great NZ wide locations.