Whakapapa is a small village located near Tongariro National Park. The area is know for hiking during the summer and skiing during the winter. During the warm months a paid shuttle service is available to the start of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and during the winter a shuttle runs between town and the ski village.
Things To Do
Outlined as one of the top one day hikes in the world and the best in New Zealand, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a 19.4 km hike across an active volcano field. Keep an eye on the weather, as it may take multiple days before the weather will be good enough for the hike. We are told the best weather for attempting the hike is in February or March.
Be sure to pack at least 1.5 liters of water (per person), food/snacks, sunscreen, and take good rain gear (as rain is common). A shuttle service is available from nearly every accommodation and city for around $35. The shuttle service runs at fixed intervals to drop off at the start and pick up at the ending point. Note: It is advised that the crossing will take 6-8 hours. It took us 5.5 hours to do the crossing, plus 1 additional hour to do the Tongariro Summit.
We used ROAM shuttle service from Whakapapa when we completed the summit. They offer a shuttle in the morning at 7am, 8am, and 9am and offer pick up service at 3pm, 4pm, and 5pm from the end of the trail.
Note: We turned back on our first attempt due to torrential downpours. (We planned to do an out and back and parked at the car park at the starting point. However, we turned back much earlier than we had planned due to the weather.)
We have also been told that another option is to show up at the end point parking lot and that there is a shuttle that would take you to the starting point (for a fee). This would allow you to have your own car to depart when you finish the crossing. The shuttle runs at specific times in the morning. Also while waiting for our shuttle there was a shuttle that offered to take people back to the starting point.
In addition to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, there are lots of additional hiking tracks in the National Park of varying lengths. See the following PDF , visit the New Zealand Department of Conservation website, or visit the Tongariro National Park website for additional details on available hiking options.
A) Whakapapa Village
There are multiple hikes that can be started from Whakapapa Village, see the New Zealand Department of Conservation website for details.
B) Near Whakapapa
There are multiple hikes that start within 30 minute drive of Whakapapa. See the New Zealand Department of Conservation website for additional details.
During the winter months, we are told that skiing in this are is fantastic. There are 30 ski runs, ski rental facilities, and a shuttle that runs from town to the ski resort.
Note: Additionally, visit the Tongariro National Park website for additional options on available activities in the area.
We passed through Whakapapa with our friends in RVs. We enjoyed our couple night stay at the site and found the facilities to be good. The park also offers tent sites, powered campsites, and some motel type options.
Located in the Whakapapa Village, we enjoyed dinner and drinks at the hotel. The manager Wayne was fantastic.
This upscale hotel greets you as you pull into the Whakapapa Village.
NOTE: There are a couple of other towns within close proximity to Whakapapa and Tongariro National Park. On our second visit to the area we stayed in National Park.