9 must-dos for the ultimate winter getaway in Ruapehu


When you’ve finished carving up the slopes and want to explore off-mountain, admire the views, and soak up the ambiance, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the ultimate winter getaway in Ruapehu.


1.      A stargazer’s paradise

With two national parks side by side, Ruapehu is a natural dark sky area in the Central Plateau. No traffic lights, minimal light pollution, pristine skies, and a vast natural wonderland all around you – Ruapehu is a true stargazer’s paradise. Check out the information panel about stars and planets at the Ohakune Carrot Adventure Park, aka Carrotland, with a Journey Through Space – From Earth to Andromeda unveiled by the president of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2023.

2.      A network of world-class walks at your doorstep

Where else but Ruapehu can you access a network of incredible walking and hiking tracks from your doorstep? From short family friendly walks to enchanting day hikes and multi-day tracks, you’ll be spoiled for choice exploring the majestic Tongariro National Park – the only UNESCO Dual World Heritage Site in Aotearoa. Start with a sunrise stroll, then hike to find your favourite waterfalls and top of the day with a sunset walk with spectacular mountain views.

3.      Find your favourite cycle track

Beat those winter blues with over 500 km of cycle trails to ride in Ruapehu. With a number of local bike hire and shuttle operators across the region, you can choose from a range of half day to full day rides from the Mountains to Sea Ngā Ara Tūhono connected pathways – an official NZ Great Ride including Marton Sash and Door, Fishers Track, and the Ohakune Old Coach Road.  With Whanganui National Park to the west and Tongariro National Park to the east, the views are epic, the trails are accessible year-round and makes it easy to enjoy some outstanding rides during your next holiday here.

Timber Trail Lodge

4.      Sustainable stays

Discover one of a kind stays in Ruapehu with sustainability at its heart. Cosy up indoors and unwind in accommodation that does the planet good. From 100% off the grid wilderness retreats at Timber Trail Lodge to award-winning Nightsky Cottage, there’s a range of wonderful sustainable stays in Ruapehu to experience in our charming mountain towns and alpine villages.

Mystical, perhaps even more so during winter, the Bridge to Nowhere is a wondrous sight to behold. Begin your journey by jetboat on the sacred Whanganui River – the first river in the world to be recognised as a living entity and granted personhood. Arrive at Mangapurua Landing and then enjoy an easy 3 km return hike to the Bridge to Nowhere to learn about its fascinating history and the valley of abandoned dreams. The sights, the serenity, and the remoteness of it all makes for an unforgettable wilderness escape.

6.      Outstanding fly fishing

With local experts as your guide, discover secret fishing spots along the Whanganui River – renowned as one of the bestrivers in the world. These tranquil waterways have hosted both the Commonwealth and World Fly Fishing Championships and offer an unforgettable wilderness fly fishing experience. Choose from full day to multi-day luxury packages with all gear and accommodation provided as well as jetboat fly fishing tours that cater from beginner to seasoned anglers.


7.      Apres-ski delights

Whether it’s world-famous chocolate eclairs, super fresh carrot juice from the carrot capital of NZ, indulging in NZ’s highest dining experience at Knoll Ridge Chalet, or going for a round of mini-putt golf before dining at Schnapps – there are plenty of cool local spaces to eat, drink, shop while roaming in Ruapehu. Refuel at cafes, restaurants, and iconic pubs or enjoy some retail therapy at unique shops with locally made goods, artisan crafts and premium merino apparel.

8.      Wood-fired hot tubs

After a fun day of exploring (on or off the slopes) enjoy a luxurious soak at Ohakune Hot Tubs and feel your tensions melt away. These wood-fired cedar hot tubs filled with fresh water and no chemicals generously fits up to 4 adults. Extra bonus! Enjoy a bit of stargazing under dark skies and the peaceful surrounds of NZ’s favourite mountain town Ohakune.

9.      One-of-a-kind events

Let the winter festivities begin in Ruapehu and choose from a range of one-of-a-kind events to experience. From the annual Ohakune Carrot Carnival to the Alpine Vintage and Classic Autoshow and the iconic winter festival Ohakune Mardis Gras, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Ruapehu’s winter wonderland.




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