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๐Ÿš— self-drive itinerary

๐Ÿ›๏ธ minimum 2 night stay recommended

๐Ÿฝ๏ธ dining suggestions offered

๐Ÿ“… visit any time of year


Travel to New Zealand's Ruapehu District and you'll find gardens are full of colour and native birds feast on blossoms and berries. Ski or board Mount Ruapehu's spring snow under a bright blue sky, or trek the Tongariro Alpine Crossing after the ice has thawed.


Highlights can include:

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site Tongariro National Park is home to outstanding volcanic features, important to Maori cultural and spiritual associations
  • breathtaking Mount Ruapehu is an active volcano with unimpeded, awe inspiring views capped off by its own crater lake, warmed by volcanic activity ๐ŸŒ‹
  • Mount Ngauruhoe is New Zealand's newest and historically most active volcano, digitally transformed to create the fiery Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings Films ๐ŸŒ‹
  • the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a 19km hike over Mount Tongariro taking in volcanic landscapes and wonders along the way - pace yourself! ๐ŸŒ‹
  • Ohakuneโ€™s Old Coach Road offers an enticing mix of pioneer stories, spectacular forest, volcanic scenery, great walks and some fast, flowing mountain biking ๐Ÿšด
  • from October through May enjoy peaceful surroundings of lavender fields, farm and bush at Lauren's Lavender Farm ๐ŸŒฟ
  • jump on a guided quad bike adventure through farmland, native bush and natural stream crossings with Ruapehu Adventure Rides ๐Ÿ๏ธ
  • explore the railway and rivers that led early settlers from place to place - adventure on a self-driven RailCart, an exciting Jet Boat ride or for the more active, a cycle on RailBikes with Forgotten World Adventures ๐Ÿ›ค๏ธ
  • honour the sacrifices, learn the campaigns, be inspired by the stories of courage, loyalty and comradeship when you visit the National Army Museum ๐ŸŽ–๏ธ
  • take to the skies on a scenic flight over the dramatic volcanic craters and view the world famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing and Mt Ngauruhoeโ€™s perfect cone ๐Ÿ›ฉ๏ธ
  • delight in Ohakuneโ€™s Carrot Adventure Park where you can take a selfie with the world famous carrot and enjoy some family time in the park and playground ๐Ÿฅ•
  • visit theTongariro National Park Visitor Centre, a great resource to help you make the most of your visit to the region, with up-to-date information
  • dust off your cowboy hat, pull on your jeans and cowboy boots and strap on some gun leather to experience the Old West at Mellonsfolly Ranch ๐Ÿค 
  • meet, lead and hand-feed alpacas at Nevalea Alpacas, the largest alpaca farm in New Zealand and feel just how soft and cuddly they can be ๐Ÿพ
  • allow 90-minutes to take in 2 beautiful waterfalls on Waitonga Falls Track ๐Ÿ‘Ÿ
  • Rotopounamu Track is a favourite of tree lovers, birdwatchers and families. Allow 2 hours to circle the beautiful lake surrounded by native forest ๐Ÿ‘Ÿ
  • some easy walks that take less time can break up the journey well. Whakapapa Village short walks include Tawhai Falls, Mounds Walk and a Nature Walk ๐Ÿ‘Ÿ
  • Mount Ruapehu is a favourite for those that want some fun in the snow from July through September each year. New Zealand's largest ski area, Whakapapa Ski Field and Happy Valley is found on the north-western slopes of Mount Ruapehu; while Turoa Ski Area is home to New Zealand's longest ski area, on the south-western slopes ๐Ÿ‚โ›ท๏ธโ„๏ธ



๐Ÿ“ # of Visitors4.5

๐Ÿš Beaches0.0

๐ŸŒฆ๏ธ Chance of Rain4.5

๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ Family Fun3.0

๐Ÿ›’ Shopping2.5

๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Food + Wine 5.0

๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ LGBTQI+ friendly ๐Ÿ‘

Note: the highest possible score is an 8.0


๐ŸŽฅvideo courtesy of Visit Ruapehu on YouTube



Length of stay
  • Sit back and relax. We've planned it all for you.


    Day 1 : Arrive in the Ruapehu District

    You'll travel to Ruapehu, arriving either by car, coach, or by train. Upon arrival into the Ruapehu you'll check in to your accommodation, settle in and get acquainted with your surroundings for the next 2 nights.


    That afternoon get a taste for the outdoors by going on exploring the National Park's shorter walks - Waitonga Falls Track and Lake Rotopounamu are great options for nature lovers.  Alternatively, jump on a mountain bike and explore the Old Coach Road to take in the beautiful scenery with a side of history and heritage.


    After dark, we'll offer suggestions on the best places to eat, or direct you to the nearest grocery shop options for self-catering.  Wherever you dine, you're sure to be gazing in the direction of the impressive volcanic peaks.


    Day 2 : a full day in the land of volcanoes

    In the winter you're bound to be visiting to take advantage of the ski fields. I learned to both ski and snowboard here, and you'll be pleased to know there's ample options for beginners, intermediate and advanced abilities on both sides of Mount Ruapehu.  


    The rest of the year, you'll want to keep your eye on weather forecasts and keep your fingers crossed that you get to experience the 19km hike known as the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.  It's an unforgettable walk that takes in amazing volcanic sites and that will leave you breathless.  It's a challenging walk, and that's why we always recommend you spend 2 nights nearby, to give you time to recover and get the most out of the experience.


    From time to time, weather conditions will close the crossing, so when this happens, we have a few thrilling back up options you can do to make the most of your time.  There are some shorter walk options featuring waterfalls, the chance for a quad bike adventure, great mountain biking options, or you could do something very different like railcruising, railbiking and jetboating.


    Whatever you've ended up doing with your day though, we'll arrange dinner tonight for you to celebrate your last night in the Ruapehu region at one of our favourite restaurants in the area. 


    Day 3 : Depart Ruapehu

    Depending on your direction, you might have the chance to break up your journey with a visit to tranquil Lauren's Lavender Farm; Perhaps make some furry friends at Nevalea Alpacas; or take in a scenic flight at first light to get an amazing birds eye view over this dramatic region.   We'll then let you know the best way to get from this region to the next part of your New Zealand trip, wherever you want that to be.