"Tongariro National Park - Skiing at Whakapapa" Whakapapa by skyangel_k1

Whakapapa Travel Guide: 12 reviews and 31 photos

Ski fields of Whakapapa

Whakapapa Ski fields is very popular amongst locals. It is just above the Whakapapa village.

The Whakapapa visitor centre is located in the village and is open daily from 8am - 5pm. You can get maps, walks, huts, tracks, ski and weather conditions there.

We arrived on a Thursday, so the crowds weren't quite there yet.
If it's your first ski trip, get a lesson as you will have much more fun skiing rather than tumbling down the slopes. A ski lesson, ski gear and chair lift pass will cost you about NZ$75 for the whole day. That's really not bad at all.

Also, take a walk around the Grand Chateau, a posh hotel with a nine hole golf course. It'd be nice to tee off in the snow.

We stayed at the National Park Lodge. It's clean, cosy and facilities are great. The heaters are always on, so you needn't worry about the outsides being -2 degrees.

Ski Lessons are worth it

After you buy your tickets at the counter (specify the ski lesson package), head for the ski store to pick out your gear - shoes, skiis, poles, and rent extra waterproof gear and gloves if you want. Then, once you and your group are organised, meet your instructor.

I had a 30 -45 minutes group ski lesson with a very good instructor. The lesson covered the basics of starting, stopping, turning, falling over and how to get up after falling over.

Toboganning down the snowy slopes

The next day, we took a break from skiing and went toboganning instead. You can rent tobogans, sleighs and round pans, and a whole lot of other snow gear from the base (before driving up to the car park at Whakapapa).

We got our stuff near the National Park shops. Just look for ski shops. They rent out all types of snow equipment, even jackets and waterproof pants if you didn't bring any.

We spent the day just climbing up the slopes and sliding all the way down again at full speed. It is very safe. At the bottom of the slopes, a wall of snow had been built to stop us from going over the edge.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Fresh snow, wide slopes, great for beginners
  • Cons:Crowds at weekends
  • In a nutshell:Everybody has fun here
  • Last visit to Whakapapa: Sep 2004
  • Intro Written Jun 21, 2005
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