Skiing on an Active Volcano in Tongariro

It’s the end of May, meaning it will soon be winter in the Southern Hemisphere and for adventure seekers in New Zealand, the onset of winter can only mean one thing – ski season is just around the corner.

By Amanda Williams - Guest blogger

Even though “high season” in New Zealand takes place during the warm summer months, with international tourists throwing themselves off bungy bridges and biking in between winery tours, the winter still offers up plenty to do for active outdoor types.

And, while South Island resort towns like Queenstown boast fresh powder each year up in the Southern Alps, New Zealand’s largest ski fields are actually located much farther north – on the slopes of an active volcano.

Yes, that’s right. In New Zealand, you can go skiing or snowboarding on an active volcano. 

In New Zealand, you can go skiing or snowboarding on an active volcano.


Located within Tongariro National Park, 2797-meter Mount Ruapehu offers up excellent skiing, snowboarding, and more at two separate ski fields - Whakapapa and Turoa.

Whakapapa Ski Area, located about an hour from Taupo on the north-western slopes of Mount Ruapehu, is New Zealand’s largest ski field, with more than 65 trails catering to all skill levels. Whakapapa’s beginner’s area, Happy Valley, is great for kids, while old volcanic lava flows create natural half-pipes and more challenging terrain for the experts.

Turoa Ski Area, on the south-western side of Mount Ruapehu, boasts the longest vertical descent in Australasia, as well as New Zealand's highest lift. Turoa also has a terrain park dedicated to snowboarders.

And, for those who aren’t inclined to take to the slopes on skis or boards, there’s also tobogganing and tubing, not to mention the awesome views from atop Mount Ruapehu. 

So, as winter approaches, make sure you can find those warm clothes, and get ready to hit the powdery slopes in Tongariro.

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