WTMC own a cosy alpine lodge on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu which is open for accommodation bookings year round. It’s only a 100m walk from the Whakapapa ski field car park and the lodge can sleep 32 people at very competitive rates.
It’s a fantastic place to stay to enjoy skiing, snowboarding, tramping, mountain biking, climbing or just simply lounging with the mountain at your doorstep!
Staying at the 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, for club members, and are located around the lifts of the Whakapapa ski field in Tongariro National Park.
How does it work?
The WTMC Lodge offers cosy bunkroom accommodation and meals are provided in the snow season.
There are no staff in the lodge, 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 at the top of the Whakapapa ski field access road (“the top of the Bruce”), and is about 100m walk from the top car-park.
The lodge is quite easy to find, but it’s hard to describe how to find it for the first time. Start in the car park opposite Day Park 1, and head for Serac Lodge on the skyline. Take a look here for maps and a video that show how to get there: Lodge Location
It's a 100m 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 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 at http://www.mtruapehu.com/winter/whakapapa-report/ – they publish expected road conditions around midday on Friday.
You should also have snow chains with you if you do not 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’.
If you are unable to get to the lodge because the road is closed or the lodge is not open, and you have discussed the situation with the Lodge Leader and there is not a feasible way to resolve it, then you’ll get a refund on your accommodation.
What do I eat?
During the snow season, lodge guests have a cooked breakfast and dinner each day, as well as the basics to make lunch to eat on the mountain, such as bread, spreads and fruit. On weekends guests have breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday, as well as breakfast and lunch on Sunday. All you need to bring is snacks and your favourite beverages.
Dinners are a set menu based on a rotating set of recipes.
We can cater to most dietary needs. Let us know your preferences in the comments when you book, at least a week before the trip. We can try to ensure dinner meets your needs or can be adapted to suit, based on one of our standard recipes; or you are welcome to cook your own meal from our pantry. We can also ensure that for instance there are some staples such as gluten free bread available for you.
It makes sense for you to roster yourself onto the dinner crew if you want to know what goes into your dinner.
In summer the lodge is self catering. Sometimes, such as on WTMC club trips or other events, a group meal may be organised. Your Lodge Leader or trip leader will let you know if this is the case.
Where do I sleep?
There are five heated bunkrooms that sleep between 2 and 6 people, along with one 10-person bunkroom.
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 - couples, please book together or tell us in the comments so we can put you together. We generally bunk young siblings together, and very occasionally we may have to ask two people in your group to top and tail in a double bunk, if the lodge is very full and not many couples and families have booked.
What other facilities does the Lodge have?
The lodge has normal services such as power, water, heating, phone, cellular and 3G signal.
- 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
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 4.5 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:
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)
And, 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.
What to Do at the Lodge
- Snow board
- Ski / snowboard touring
- Bum slide
- 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