The magic of summer
Atop New Zealand's Peak Adventure
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Welcome to summer at Mt Ruapehu

Explore the heart of New Zealand’s North Island at its most raw and real, from both above the ground and on foot.

From December to April, Mt Ruapehu sits mostly bare of its winter coat, exposing its unique volcanic terrain in its rawest form.

The Sky Waka gondola – gives views of this terrain from above, carrying guests on a 1.8km journey.
On arrival at 2020m, guests are welcomed to the Knoll Ridge Chalet offering different food and beverage options, with views extended out across the maunga (mountain) and Central Plateau.

Ride the Sky Waka

A journey on the Sky Waka gondola – translated to mean ‘voyaging canoe’ in Te Reo Māori - begins at the base station of Whakapapa ski area, a short walk across the plaza from carparks.

Guests are welcomed aboard one of 48 gondola cabins, each seating up to ten people and glass encased to invite in the panoramic views.

The climb of 390m or journey of 1.8km takes about 12 minutes, each way. The line is slowed down in summer to allow guests to settle in, unwind, and take in views out to the Central Plateau.

Dine at 2020m

At 2020m, and on completion of the Sky Waka gondola journey, guests are welcomed into the architecturally awarded, Knoll Ridge Chalet.

In summer, dining options include an extensive buffet dining experience at the Pinnacles Restaurant, and a cafe style offering at the Pātaka Cafe.

Enjoy your meal and / or drink with a backdrop to the Ngā Tohu, Pinnacles range – a spectacularly sharp ridge that belies the reality of Mt Ruapehu’s volcanic origins.

Explore on foot

Explore the fascinating mix of volcanic rock, pumice, scoria, and sand, on foot, with three walks well marked by our team, to help you navigate through the rocky formations.

Ranging from 20 minutes return through to 2.5 hours return, the walks – Waterfalls Descent, Skyline Walk, and Meads Wall – commence either at the base of the Sky Waka gondola or at the top.

Suitable for a range of abilities, and good walking or hiking shoes are recommended.