Ruapehu Lodge

photograph of lodge in snow



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 100m 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 skiing, snowboarding, tramping, mountain biking, climbing or just simply lounging with the mountain at your doorstep!

To stay at the lodge, have a read through our rates and booking rules or book on our lodge bookings page.

Staying at the Lodge

Lodge Front Door

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?

lounge area in lodge

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 – they publish expected road conditions around 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, lodge guests will help prepare breakfast and dinner each day for the group. The makings of lunches will also be provided, including bread, fillings, fruit and cake. On the day you arrive and depart, dinner is not usually provided, but there is always something you can pull together if you arrive in time to need it.

Dinners are based on a set menu, and are designed to cater to Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Vegetarian needs. If you have one of these requirements, please ensure your booking comments include this note (including how many in your party require a special diet).

If you have other dietary restrictions, please also note these, and the food officer will be in touch about whether the meals in the lodge can cater to you, or if you will need to self-cater some of your meals.

It makes sense for you to roster yourself on the dinner crew if you need to know what’s going in to your dinner.

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?

photo of bunk room in lodge

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 – 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 3G signal, and Wi-Fi.

Facilities include:

  • 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.

ruapehu lodge floorplan

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.

Lodge Location

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.

Map of location of WTMC lodge Aerial photograph showing walking route from Whakapapa carpark to WTMC lodge

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:

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

Winter Activities

  • Ski
  • Snow board
  • Ski / snowboard touring
  • Bum slide
  • Mountaineering
  • Snow caving
  • Day walks
  • Alpine tramping
  • Photography
  • Geology appreciation

Summer Activities

  • Mountain biking
  • Day walks
  • Crater lake climbs
  • White water rafting
  • Tramping
  • Trail running

Nearby Activities

WTMC Trip Leaders Going to the Lodge

Specific Information for WTMC Trip Leaders Going to the Lodge

If you are leading a trip to the lodge, there are some things you need to be aware of.  Take a look at trip leaders’ going to the lodge.

File attachments: Lodge cookbook – suggested recipes and ideas