Planning a Trip
Getting There & Getting Around
By Plane -- Mountain Air Xpress (tel. 0800/922-812 in NZ; www.mountainair.co.nz) has daily service linking Auckland with Mount Ruapehu. It also has a range of ski-flight packages.
By Train -- The TranzRail (tel. 0800/802-802; www.tranzscenic.co.nz) Overlander trains stop at National Park and Ohakune.
By Coach (Bus) -- InterCity (tel. 07/378-9032) provides service to the national park. Whakapapa Express (tel. 0800/828-763 in NZ, or 07/377-0435) offers daily ski and mountain transport between Taupo, Ohakune, and Whakapapa. Ruapehu Ski Shuttle (tel. 0800/331-995 in NZ, or 09/379-8886; fax 09/379-8151) serves National Park village, Whakapapa, and Ohakune from Auckland Sunday through Wednesday and on Friday.
By Car -- Highway 1 runs along the eastern side of the park; Highway 4 goes through National Park Village on the western side; Highways 47 and 48 bring travelers from the south shore of Lake Taupo into the heart of the park; and Highway 49 turns off State Highway 1 at Waiouru at the south end of the park and travels to Ohakune. Mount Ruapehu is a 4-hour drive from either Auckland or Wellington.
The Whakapapa Visitor Centre is in the village of Whakapapa at the end of State Highway 48 (tel. 07/892-3729; fax 07/892-3814; email@example.com). It's open daily from 8am to 6pm in summer, 8am to 5pm in winter (closed Dec 25). It provides current volcanic, weather, and track information, as well as hut and camping passes, maps and brochures, hunting permits, and other items. The center has exhibits on the natural and human history of the park along with two excellent audiovisual displays, The Sacred Gift of Tongariro and The Ring of Fire. Information about the Whakapapa Ski Field, 7km (4 1/3 miles) above the village, is also available.
The Ruapehu Visitor Centre, 54 Clyde St., Ohakune (tel. 0800/782-734 in NZ, or 06/385-8427; fax 06/385-8527; www.visitruapehu.com), is open weekdays from 9am to 5pm, weekends from 9am to 3:30pm. You can reach the Ohakune Department of Conservation office at tel. 06/385-0010. The Turangi i-SITE Visitor Centre, Ngawaka Place, Turangi (tel. 0800/288-726 in NZ, or 07/386-8999; fax 07/386-0074; www.laketauponz.com), is another useful stop. It's open daily from 8:30am to 5pm. For information on National Park Village, go to www.nationalpark.co.nz.
Make sure you pick up the free brochure Tongariro Action -- Do It, available at any visitor center.