Experience a unique mountain stay at WTMC’s cosy alpine lodge on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu.
Our lodge is open for accommodation bookings year round. It’s only a 100 m walk from the Whakapapa ski field car park, and can sleep 32 people at very competitive rates.
It’s a fantastic place to stay to enjoy winter skiing, snowboarding and climbing, and summer tramping and mountain biking, or just simply lounging with the mountain at your doorstep.
Staying at the WTMC Ruapehu Lodge
Staying at one of the 50 or so club lodges on the northern slopes of Mt Ruapehu is a unique mountain experience. The lodges offer comfortable, social, alpine-style accommodation. They are managed by club members, mostly for club members but also cater for non-members, and are located adjacent to the lifts of the Whakapapa ski field in Tongariro National Park.
How does it work?
The WTMC Lodge offers cosy bunkroom accommodation, and food for meals is provided in the winter season.
The lodge has no staff so all guests contribute to keeping the lodge running via a roster to undertake duties such as preparing food, cooking meals, washing dishes or light cleaning. This should only take about 30-60min of your time over a weekend.
There will be a Lodge Leader who is trained to open up and close down the lodge. They will talk you through fire safety and other important information, as well as being able to sort out most common issues during your stay. They will ensure all the jobs on the duty roster are allocated.
Where is the Lodge located and how do I get there?
The lodge is near top of the Whakapapa ski field access road (‘the Top of the Bruce’), and is about 100m walk from the top car-park. For detailed notes on the lodge location and how to find it if arriving in the dark check out Lodge Location below.
It’s about a 100 m walk from the road to the lodge, via a path that will be snowy, rocky, or wet depending on the weather. Plan on it being a blizzard when you get there – keep warm clothes and good boots near the top of your gear, and have your gear in something you can carry for about 10 minutes. A backpack is a good choice, Samsonite rolling luggage not so much but still doable.
If you get to the lodge early, please drop your luggage in the ski room and do not move into the bunkrooms until the last of the previous occupants have vacated the lodge (which will be 4pm at latest). This gives the last occupants time to clean up and clear their luggage. Feel free to come into the lounge and help yourself to tea and coffee (as long as you keep clear of the people cleaning up).
What if the road is weather affected?
The location at the top of the Whakapapa ski road means that access is sometimes affected by snow and ice. This could prevent you getting to the lodge, and it could also prevent the Lodge Leader getting there. We need to have a trained Lodge Leader present when the lodge is open, so the lodge will be locked if they are unable to make it. Weather causes issues on one weekend every couple of years or so on average, but it’s something to be aware of.
If the weather is looking dicey leading up to your weekend, keep in touch with your Lodge Leader to check if the lodge will be accessible. (You’ll get their mobile number and email sent to you a few days before your trip). Also pay attention to the snow report where expected road conditions are published about midday on Friday.
You should also have snow chains with you even if you have a 4WD. There’s little local demand in Wellington for chains so it pays to shop outside of Wellington. TradeMe usually have good deals available, search for ‘snow chains’.
What do I eat?
During the snow season from the first weekend of July until the closing weekend of the season, food is provided. Lodge guests are expected, as a part of the duty roster, to prepare breakfast and dinner. On the day you arrive and depart, dinner is not provided, but there is almost always something you can pull together if you need it.
Ingredients to make lunch are also provided. This includes things such as bread, fillings, fruit and cake.
Dinners are based on a preset menu and are designed to cater to a regular diet as well as for vegetarians. If you are a vegetarian, it is your responsibility to specify in your booking comments how many in your party are vegetarian. When this is not specified, no allowance will be made for vegetarian diet when ordering food.
If you have dietary requirements outside of what is provided you need to self-cater some of your meals. You can check the preset menu to see what is planned for your stay and use ingredients available in your self-catered menu. It also makes sense for you to roster yourself on the food preparation crew if you need to know what’s going into your food. Keep in mind, the lodge is run by the club and the people staying at the lodge. These volunteers are not qualified chefs and cannot cater for specific dietary requirements.
In the summer, the lodge is self-catered, except when specifically booked by large groups like club trips, who will pay a food subsidy on top of their summer rates. Your lodge / trip leader will let you know if this is the case.
Where do I sleep?
All of the bunk rooms are heated. There are five rooms that sleep between two and six people and one 10-bed bunk room.
You need to bring a sleeping bag and a pillowcase. (You get a mattress and a pillow.) If you forget your pillowcase, a clean t-shirt makes a good substitute! There are also extra blankets if you get cold.
If you book as a group we’ll do our best to put you all together in the best-sized room for you. There is also room for your porta-cot in most bunkrooms – let us know if you’re bringing one and we’ll do our best to get you a family-friendly space for it.
We have a mix of single and double bunks. Bunk allocations are normally done a few days before the start of your stay. If you have any specific bunk or room requests please note these when booking, but we cannot guarantee that we’ll be able to accommodate them. The lodge is bunk room style accomodation, so please note the following:
- Families, please book in together so we can try to get you all in the same room (this may not always be possible, but we try really hard).
- Unless the lodge has free space, children in a group will double bunk.
- Couples, we generally assume you’re ok to share a double bunk, let us know if that’s not true in the notes.
- If you’re in a large group of singles, we may ask some people to share a double, but only if absolutely necessary.
- We can never guarantee that a group will get its own room.
- Our bunkrooms are not gender-assigned, but we do have two bathrooms.
What other facilities does the lodge have?
The lodge has normal services such as power, water, heating, phone, cellular 3G signal, and free Wi-Fi.
- Shared bathroom and shower facilities (bring your own towels and toiletries)
- Drying room and ‘wet room’ for your snow gear
- Full catering kitchen with all utensils
- Dining room and spacious lounge
- Workbench for ski/board tuning
- Stereo with radio, CD and phono plug for your music player
- A small library and toys/board games
- Wi-Fi Internet connection.
What facilities are nearby?
The nearest pubs and restaurants are 6km away at Whakapapa Village, and fuel and groceries are 20km away at National Park village. There is a cafe/bar on the skifield that is open during the day and late on Saturdays if there is night skiing.
There are plenty of activities in Tongariro National Park. We’ve listed some of them on our What to Do page.
What else do I need to know?
Take a look at the briefing document that the Lodge Leader will take you through when you arrive. It contains important fire safety facts as well as other useful information.
Ruapehu Lodge is located in the heart of Tongariro National Park, in the ski community of Iwikau Village, at the base of the Whakapapa ski-field.
- 15 minutes drive from Whakapapa Village
- 5 minutes walk uphill from the car park at the top of the Bruce Road
- 10 minutes from the ski chairlifts, ski gear hire and ski ticket sales
- 10 minutes from the ski school When the snow is good it is entirely possible to ski all the way to the lodge front door.
Getting there and away
- By car: The lodge is approximately 4½ hours drive from Wellington. Follow directions to National Park, Whakapapa Village and then the Top of the Bruce.
- By van: In association with Wellington Snow Lovers, there are vans running to the lodge several times a season from Wellington Railway station. Watch our forum for details. There are also regular club tramping and alpine trips to the lodge, in club vans. You can join these trips just like any other club trip.
- By bus: Nakedbus and Intercity have bus services to Ohakune, National Park and Turangi, with shuttles to take you to Whakapapa Village. You’ll need to arrange a pickup from someone at the lodge for a ride up the last 6 km. GreatLakeTaupo have some links to bus services (scroll to the bottom of the page).
Finding the lodge
The lodge can be tricky to find the first time, particularly in the dark on a Friday night. Note that when the Bruce Road is closed for skiiers, it may still be open for Lodge users. Check with a member of the Lodge sub-committee or Chief Guide in case of doubt.
Printable pdfs of these images, showing more of the surrounding area, are attached:Map of lodge location near Whakapapa Village (111KB)Suggested walking route from Whakapapa ski field car park to the WTMC Lodge (3.7MB)
Different people find different types of maps useful so here are two other maps showing the lodge location:
- Satellite view of the lodge location from Google maps (with a pin marker showing which building the lodge is, and suggested walking route from the car park marked)
- Topo map of the lodge location (with a pin marker showing which building the lodge is)
The following video shows how to find the Lodge, where to park your car, and precautions to take when you walk to the lodge in Winter.
Car parking at Iwikau, Mt Ruapehu – what you need to know if you are staying at the lodge during the ski season.
If you are taking a car to Iwikau at Mt Ruapehu for any weekend during the ski season you need to get the car parking booking system sorted.
For weekends from 31 July through to 5 September 2021 you must book a carpark. But this year there are two systems – one for club members staying in a lodge on the mountain, and one for everyone else.
The one for everyone else remains as previous years and you can book at https://www.mtruapehu.com/parking
For those staying at the club lodge you also need to book – but you get a sort of preferential parking. And to access the Club Portal you require a PIN from the club booking person. This will be provided to you once your booking is confirmed.
The idea behind the two booking systems is that club members will not be confined by the Wednesday releases of the main booking system. Whether it will work as planned remains to be seen – but it is a reasonable first step so give it a try and be patient (or if you just get annoyed then suggest a better system – we will be waiting to hear from you).
It is also worth noting that there is a requirement to obtain a parking permit from the DOC Visitors Centre at Whakapapa Village if you intend to leave your car there at any time (weekdays included) for longer than 120 minutes.
Read below from the RMCA for info regarding the Club Portal:
• Bookable parking should run for only six weekends during 2021: between July 31st and September 5th . This may change if the region moves to COVID Alert Level 2 or higher.
• Club members staying overnight (including life and season pass holders) will need to book for every night of their stay during the bookable period/s. (i.e., book for both Friday and Saturday nights if arriving on Friday, this means you are booked for both Saturday and Sunday).
• Clubs will be provided with a PIN login to access the Club/Lodge booking system. Note, the PIN will be subject to change should any part of the portal be misused. If this occurs, clubs will be updated. We suggest that the PIN be provided only to club members who have confirmed their accommodation.
• Club members will be able to book ahead of their planned stay by using the Club/Lodge portal. This is an improvement on last year as the club/lodge portal is not subject to the Wednesday releases that the main bookable system is.
• Club members will need to book even if they plan to arrive on the Friday night so that they can arrive through the control point in the morning should their evening arrival be delayed for any reason.
• If club members cancel/change their accommodation booking, they should also cancel/change their car park booking.
• For club members visiting the Turoa Ski Field; they will need to book a day park using the main RAL public booking system. The Club/Lodge Portal does not apply to Turoa.
• The URL to access the site is https://evacheck.in/whakapapa-overnight
• The PIN for your club is available only via your club booking officer when your accommodation is confirmed.
• Please keep your Club PIN confidential. Do not post the PIN on social media or web site. RMCA emphasises that the club/lodge portal is a trial and although the new portal for clubs has tried to cater for as much practicality as possible, we know that improvements may be needed. We ask that club committees encourage their club members to respect and embrace the new system as a trial and provide feedback via their club committee.
What you can do at the lodge
- Snow board
- Ski / snowboard touring
- Snow caving
- Day walks
- Alpine tramping
- Geology appreciation.
- Mountain biking
- Day walks
- Crater lake climbs
- White water rafting
- Trail running.
- Rock Climbing at National Park Backpackers . $15 per adult including harness hire.
- Tokaanu Hot Pools. $6 per adult main pools, $10 private pool (includes main pool entry)
- Golf at the Chateau Tongariro Golf Course. 9 holes, $9 per person, per round plus club / ball hire as needed.
- High Tea at the Chateau Tongariro, from $20 per person. 2 – 5pm daily, please contact the Chateau to book.
- Army Museum in Waiouru
- Tongariro alpine crossing (shuttle buses depart from nearby Whakapapa Village)
- The 42nd traverse mountain bike course and trail run.
- The Goat alpine adventure run