Whakapapa Visitor Centre

Image: DOC


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


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


  • Camping
  • Walking and tramping

Find things to do and places to stay Whakapapa Village area

About this place

History and culture

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 DOC'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

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.


Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 7 892 3729
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   tongarirovc@doc.govt.nz
Address:   Whakapapa Village
State Highway 48
Mount Ruapehu
Postal Address:   PO Box 71029
Whakapapa Village
Mount Ruapehu 3951
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