Cool Down This Summer on Mt Ruapehu
Summer is heating up in Taupō but there is a new way to cool down this season.
The new Sky Waka gondola at Whakapapa is open year-round for an alpine experience on Mt Ruapehu. Located only 1.5 hours from Taupō, the Sky Waka is open daily between 9.30am and 5.30pm for gondola rides, dining, sightseeing and hiking experiences.
Go for snow
If you’re visiting early in summer,there will still be snow at the top of the Sky Waka so now is the time to give it a go if you haven’t yet had a snow experience. There is a new upper mountain sledding zone open in front of the Knoll Ridge Chalet and at 2,000 metres above sea level, it’s likely to last until at least Christmas, great fun for the kids – big and small!
New Zealand’s highest restaurant
The Pinnacles Restaurant, with its spectacular views, opened in July this year at Knoll Ridge Chalet and will be open every day for lunch and afternoon tea, and Friday and Saturday nights for dinner. Pātaka is also open every day for coffee and light bites.
The Sky Waka also gives you access to some incredible short walks on Mt Ruapehu – one of our favourites is the walk up to Skyline Ridge. It’s a fairly short walk with big rewards. A 1.5 to 2 hour round trip takes you to 2,300 metres above sea level.
From this altitude, the views are awesome, you can see across Tongariro National Park, Mt Ngauruhoe, Mt Tongariro and Lake Taupō. There is a courtesy mark trail starting from the top of the chair lifts by the Knoll Ridge Chalet at 2,020 metres, this travels through old lava flows and loose ash, but it is not a benched track.
And no matter the season, always keep an eye on weather conditions and make sure you are prepared for alpine conditions as weather can change suddenly on Mt Ruapehu.