Climbing Ruapehu Ski Area, New Zealand
Climb begins at the entrance to Tongariro National Park.
Tongariro National Park was established in 1887 and is New Zealand’s oldest national park (it is also the world’s sixth oldest national park). The park is 79,500 hectares (196,448 acres).
Climb summary by PJAMM’s Brad Butterfield.
What a sight the mountain ahead is as you climb toward the ski area. The landscape has a high-tundra feel to it, with not many trees to speak of. Once on the upper part of the climb, the road cuts through jagged volcanic rock. Ruapehu last erupted in 2007. It is a beautiful drive out to this climb and is quite far from any major towns. You can bet on having the road to yourself. I saw no other cyclists and only a few cars on my day on the climb in May 2022.
The road is generally straight except for three brief hairpins sections.
Chateau Tongariro located at kilometer 6.
Chateau Tongariro (aka Grand Chateau) is a magnificent hotel on the way up to the ski resort. The hotel opened in 1929.
At roughly kilometer 10 we enter and remain in lava fields to the climb finish.
Mount Ruapehu as viewed at kilometers 4-5.
Mount Ruapehu is the largest active volcano in New Zealand and is the highest point on New Zealand’s Northern Island.
Finish at Whakapapa Ski Area.