Everything You Need to Know about Mount Ruapehu

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BUNAC's Ski New Zealand helps you land a job at the beautiful Mount Ruapehu Ski Resort in Tongariro National Park. You can work winter or summer seasons and get the job secured before you go! Find out what this natural beauty is really like and get to grips with all the amazing activities you can do there from BUNAC's very own native Kiwi, Jen! She's visited Mount Ruapehu and give you some great insights into what to expect there on your ski season. What have you got for us, Jen? 

What are the main activities at Mount Ruapehu? 

Mount Ruapheu is New Zealand's biggest ski resort, with two areas to choose from. Whether you're learning the ropes of skiing or you are already at an advanced level, there are options for everyone. Don't worry if you're a newbie - there are classes available on the mountain! You can also do loads of activities in the nearby area of Taupo such as white-water rafting, rock climbing, skydiving or exploring the stunning Tongariro Alpine Crossing. 

Is Mount Ruapehu accessible / how do you get there? 

You can get to Taupo (an hour drive from Mount Ruapehu) from almost anywhere in New Zealand. It is right in the centre of the North Island, so most routes go there, including the KiwiRail (a lovely scenic train ride) and lots of bus companies that also go there. The only way to get to the actual mountain is by vehicle, so you can either drive or get a bus tour company to take you. If you're staying at a social hostel or lodge in Taupo, you might be able to travel with other fellow travellers too so you've already made friends before you begin your ski season work. 

What are some interesting facts about Mount Ruapehu that are good to know? 

  • It is still an active volcano and the highest peak in the North Island 
  • It is home to New Zealand's highest situated cafe 
  • The glaciers on Mount Ruapehu are the only glaciers in the North Island 
  • Ruapehu has two commercial ski fields, Whakapapa on the northern side and Turoa on the southern slope. 

What is the social life like there? 

There is a collection of restaurants and bars around the mountain that you can go to which offers delicious food and drink options. If you're looking for something a bit more lively, you can always check out Taupo on your days or nights off from Mount Ruapehu. Taupo is a big town with an active nightlife with young locals and traveller's alike, and you can easily go there and back in a day!

What are your top memories of being there? 

I went there on numerous occasions with my family, as it was only about a 3 and half hour drive from Auckland, where I'm from and my family house resides. We had a timeshare in Taupo where we would stay and then during the day we would drive up to the mountain to ski. Where we were located, the driveway was right across the road from Lake Taupo so my sister's and I loved to run and dip in the freezing sea and then run back across the road to warm up the spa. It's a lot of fun learning to ski there also; the instructors were really fun so it's ideal if you're a beginner. Likewise for more advanced skiers you have some challenging courses to choose from, which I myself never reached but my Dad managed to! 

What are the highlights of Lake Taupo? 

There is such a wide range of of different things you can do at Lake Taupo thanks to the environments surrounding it. There is a golf course called 'Holein1' which has three holes floating in the lake that you can attempt to get a hole in one from land. You can even win $10,000 NZD if you get the most difficult hole. It's a fun activity to do at a low-cost while you're in town. The lake also opens up the possibility for all kinds of water sports such as water-skiing, kayaking or sailing. It's also worth taking a boat trip to see the Maori rock carving that is only accessible by water too and spend a day sunning it up on the water. With the nearby forests, you can also do some hiking or mountain biking no matter what your level of skill is. 

What are the highlights of Tongariro National Park? 

The stunning scenery makes for some great hikes, or walks of all distances, varying from 20 minutes to six days! You can also do rafting or canoeing on the river there as well as fishing. Tongariro National Park definitely shows off some of the natural beauty New Zealand has to offer. You won't regret stopping there even just to do a short walk if you're not much of a hiker or don't have too much time. 

If you want to work a summer or winter season at Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand, then look no further than BUNAC's Ski New Zealand programme. With a pre-arranged job before you go, plus visa and accommodation finding support, it's the perfect adventure to make lifelong friends and memories. Are you ready? 

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