Whakapapa Visitor Centre
Image: DOC

Introduction

Find out about the unique and historic alpine village located within Tongariro National Park, at the base of Mount Ruapehu.

Highlights

The village is the main entrance into the Tongariro National Park. Many beautiful short and longer walking tracks begin here. The central location of the village within the national park gives spectacular views of all the volcanoes.

Services include:

  • Visitor centre and DOC office
  • Convenience store at the holiday park
  • Transport to walking tracks and ski field
  • Cafes, restaurants, bars
  • Snow sports and hiking equipment rental
  • Shelter, toilets, parking areas

Place overview

Find things to do and places to stay Whakapapa Village area

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Historic sightseeing

Chateau hotel.
Chateau Tongariro hotel

Visit one of these historic sites and experience history right where it happened:

  • Fergusson Cottage - the oldest remaining building in Whakapapa Village and now used as a café
  • Chateau Tongariro Hotel - built in 1929, it's now registered a Category I historic place by Heritage New Zealand. It's a favourite alpine retreat for New Zealand and international visitors.
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    About this place

    History and culture

    Whakapapa Village approx 1929, viewed from the new Chateau hotel. Image: Alexander Turnbull Library.
    Whakapapa Village approx 1929, 
    viewed from the new Chateau hotel

    Beginnings

    Whakapapa Village was established in the 1920s. Accommodation huts were built for skiers and outdoor recreationists. The road up to the village (now State Highway 48) was built in 1925, and the Chateau hotel in 1929.

    During the 1960s and 1970s the rapid growth in popularity of skiing and outdoor recreation resulted in the village becoming an important service and administrative centre in the park.

    During these years much of the village as it is now was built: Park Headquarters and Chief Ranger's house (now the Department's Ruapehu Area offices and Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre), the Skotel hotel, Whakapapa holiday park, five club lodges, staff accommodation, workshops/service areas.

    Getting there

    From State Highway 47 going north or south, take the clearly signposted turn-off onto State Highway 48. It is about a 4 hr 30 min drive from either Auckland or Wellington.

    Know before you go

    The Chateau hotel and a large snowfall.
    The Chateau hotel and a large snowfall

    Temperatures at the village can be as cold as -10°C or as warm as 25°C. Frosts can occur at any time of the year. Often the overnight temperatures are below freezing in the winter months.

    At Whakapapa the annual rainfall is about 2200 mm, while on the Desert Road side it is only 1250 mm.

    Often during winter snow falls at the village, and sometimes to lower levels. However for the most part, the winter snowline is above the village.

    Find out more about the weather in Tongariro National Park.

    Contacts

    Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre
    Phone:   +64 7 892 3729
    Address:   Whakapapa Village
    State Highway 48
    Mount Ruapehu
    Email:   tongarirovc@doc.govt.nz
    Full office details
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