Happy Valley

There's more to the snow than just skiing or boarding! Whether it's grabbing a toboggan and sledding down a snowy slope, having snow ball fights or just riding the chairlift to make the most of the stunning views across the Central North Island of New Zealand, a great day is guaranteed at Happy Valley!

Happy Valley Beginners Area

Whakapapa Ski Area prides itself on having New Zealand’s biggest and best beginner ski, snowboard and snow play facility – Happy Valley Snow Park. 

Happy Valley is the first and only ski area in New Zealand with an all-weather snowmaking system. This state-of-the-art technology guarantees great snow conditions, and big smiles on your family's faces, over a longer season regardless of the weather conditions.

There is also a range of cafes on the mountain serving hot drinks and great tasting food all day, so you can head inside to warm up and get reenergised before you head out again for more winter family fun.

Snow play and sledding

Family-friendly sledding

The snow park features a dedicated snow play zone with its own covered surface lift well away from the skiing and snow boarding so the little ones (and the not-so-little ones!) are safe while tobogganing and building snowmen. 

There's nothing quite like jumping on a toboggan and sledding down a snowy slope! You can't beat sledding for a snow activity that the whole family will love. Happy Valley in Whakapapa Ski Area offers a fantastic sledding area with a fleet of super-fast toboggans for hire.

Learning to ski and snowboard

Beginner ski lessons

Learning to ski or snowboard can be a little daunting at first and it is a huge confidence boost to know there is a dedicated beginner area that is a safe and enjoyable place to learn at Happy Valley.

Happy Valley has to be the best place in the world to learn to ski or snowboard. It has a long, gentle slope, a chairlift and magic carpet, and its own cafe and rental facilities. Because everything is in one place it’s easy to get organised for your first skiing experience.

From the top car park at Whakapapa Ski Area, make your way down to Happy Valley on the elevator. The friendly staff at rentals will advise you on the best deal for you. They will kit you out with top quality equipment so that your first day on the snow is safe and enjoyable.

If you’ve purchased a beginner package it will include a lesson with the Whakapapa Ski School - highly recommended for making sure you get the basics nailed right from the start.

Sightseeing chairlift rides

Visit the highest cafe in New Zealand

Take a trip on scenic chairlift ride over the spectacular volcanic landscape of Whakapapa Ski Area, the highest mountain in the North Island of New Zealand. You’ll be treated to stunning scenery and amazing views of the ski area, Lake Taupo, the Central Plateau and wider Great Lake Taupo region.

The top of the Waterfall Express Chairlift sits at an altitude of 2020m. Here you’ll find the architectural award-winning Knoll Ridge Cafe. The Knoll Ridge Cafe is the highest cafe in New Zealand. It’s the perfect place to have a meal or hot drink, relax on the deck or by the floor to ceiling windows and admire the views.

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