Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe Ruapehu region is situated right in the middle of New Zealand’s North Island, and boasts a naturally beautiful landscape. Primarily defined by three volcanoes that stand majestically over an idyllic setting of barren hills and plains below, this is a very popular destination for lovers of snow pursuits in winter and for hikers in the summer months. It is a pristine world of thermal springs, lakes, and clear running rivers, not forgetting the conical-shaped volcanoes.
World Heritage ParkThe volcanoes form part of New Zealand’s first national park, Tongariro National Park. Magnificent Mount Ruapehu, which is normally snow-capped, takes center stage along with its two nearby neighbors, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe , adding their impressive profiles to make this a stunning setting from every angle. It is no surprise that two of the North Island’s best ski fields are a hive of activity for skiers and snowboarders alike for most of the year.
More than MountainIf snow surfing and mountain climbing are not for you, then you are certain to be impressed with the variety of spectacular hikes on offer in the area. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a day of hiking in one of the most stark and beautiful of landscapes on the planet. You can cross alpine meadows, then trek up to mountain summits to reach a moonscape-like scene of craters and emerald-colored lakes, all completely surrounded by volcanic rock. A sobering thought then, when you stop and take in the fact that you are standing atop an active volcanic system.
Getting ThereMost visitors jet into Auckland International Airport on the North Island. Cruise ships also visit Auckland, and once landed, traveling to the Ruapehu region is easy. The famous landmark sits almost midway on the main north-south interstate between Auckland to the north and Wellington going south. Car hire is probably the best way to get there for obvious reasons, but watch for slippery conditions in the Ruapehu region (road ice), particularly in the winter months from June to August. Other options are to fly to Rotorua or Hamilton Airports and pick up your vehicle.
Express RailYou can of course consider the Overlander train option between Auckland and Wellington. The stations in the area are located at Taumarunui National Park and Ohakune. Thereafter, you require a car/tour operator or a bike.
Biking OptionsSome visitors are so inspired by the scenery, they prefer to travel by bike into the area, which is fine, as long as you consider the option of road sharing with other vehicles, including large freight and logging trucks. Once you reach Ruapehu, you will be mesmerized at what awaits you. Spectacular views are on offer to the intrepid cyclist.
Accommodation and Dining in the Mount Ruapehu AreaIf you are visiting the Mount Ruapehu, ski fields at either Turoa or Whakapapa, and Ohakune has everything you could need, and the best Ohakun accommodation is at The Peaks Motor Inn.
This Motor Inn is conveniently located 987 m from Ohakune’s fine restaurants, bars, and cafés, on the road leading to Ohakune Mountain Road and Turoa skifield on Mount Ruapehu, and features a choice of secure, modern, quiet, and warm studio units (sleeps 1-3 people) and one-bedroom units (sleeps 1-4 people). All units have full kitchens, well-appointed bathrooms (some with spa baths), Sky TV, 32" LCD TVs, and there is ample off-street parking.
The Peaks is a short 20-25 minute drive away from Turoa skifield, which provides superb skiing and boarding. The Nga Wai Heke lift opens up the southeast basin area for some awesome runs over great terrain, making the Turoa skifield New Zealand’s premier skiing venue. Mountain shuttles pick up and return visitors to the Motor Inn entrance.
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Author: robric. Last updated: Oct 27, 2014