The Ruapehu region takes its name from the sacred Mt Ruapehu. At 2797 metres, Mt Ruapehu is the highest mountain in the North Island. Mt Ruapehu's eight named glaciers are the only glaciers in the North Island and the sacred Crater Lake (on top of the mountain) is one of only three in the world surrounded by snow and ice.
Today the three volcanoes are part of the Tongariro World Heritage Park, New Zealand’s first national park. The centrepiece is the snow-capped Mount Ruapehu, alongside the two smaller cones of Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro.
Mt Ruapehu is a haven for skiing & snowboarding enthusiasts who flock to the ski fields of Turoa and Whakapapa during the winter. The smaller club field of Tukino, on the eastern flanks provides yet another experience. In summertime scenic chairlift rides on Whakapapa offer unsurpassed, spectacular views over the central North Island.
The region is home to two national parks - Tongariro National Park and Whanganui National Park,which includes the Whanganui River. The surrounding landscape features barren, windswept, desert-like landscape, pristine streams and rivers, active volcanoes, and fertile farm lands.
Every year, tourists visit the area to hike the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing and other Ruapehu hiking trails. For sheer scenic incredibility, you must walk the Tongariro Crossing. This one-day hike takes you from alpine meadow to mountain summit across a surreal landscape of craters, coloured lakes and volcanic rock. Mountain biking is also popular – with many mountain bike tracks throughout the Ruapehu region. The region has been a magnet for filmmakers, the most famous being the Lord of the Rings trilogy, River Queen and more recently The Hobbit.