Whakapapa Facilities & Services

Whakapapa Facilities & Services

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Whakapapa Ski Field Facilities and Services Whakapapa Ski Field is a quiet, but efficient and smoothly-run resort with adequate facilities and services.

The facilities include change rooms, toilets and a café and bar at the base of the runs overlooking Happy Valley, the beginner’s area. Everything is there: the ticket office, snow school, medical centre, rental station, a separate café in the beginners’ area – all neatly grouped together.

There are free, guided tours twice a day – a great introduction if you’re new to the mountain. There are locker/bag check facilities, but only at the base of the mountain.

Further up the volcano, there are another two cafés, first aid station, public shelter, further toilets, and a multi-million dollar restaurant with gorgeous floor to wall windows, and a good choice of fresh, tasty, slightly upmarket food.

Whakapapa Ski and Snowboard School Whakapapa runs a professional snow school, Whakapapa Snow School, with instructors from all over the world including Europeans and South Americans. In 2011, there were 95 ski instructors.

Whakapapa Snow School runs a varied and sophisticated program, including a Master the Mountain program for intermediate and advanced adult skiers and snowboarders who want to explore new terrain, including double black diamond, extreme terrain and off-piste.

The ski school caters for kids of all ages. It offers youngsters a lot of fun and the chance to make new friends. It also ensures they don’t get into trouble, or take the wrong turn at one of the mountain’s many intersections. However, if you don’t mind coughing up the dough, consider booking your child into a private lesson. This way, rather than copying the mistakes of the kids they are trailing in a group, your son or daughter will soon emulate the class and style of Heinz, their private tutor from Austria. But be warned, your kid will soon ski better than you!

Whakapapa also has a Flyers and Warriors Kids’ program, and the usual holiday programs for kids. Prices are decent and competitive.

Child Care There’s no kids centre or child care at Whakapapa. However, there’s one at Turoa. It caters for pre-schoolers (aged 2-5) and offers the parents a chance to go for a ski or carve – sans les enfants.

Eating on the Mountain Whakapapa ski field has six cafés, bistros or restaurants, including two licensed premises. They serve meals of comparable quality and price, except for Knoll Ridge restaurant, which is more upmarket, and the biggest and most modern eatery on Mount Ruapehu.

At 2,020m above sea level, it’s New Zealand’s highest café. On a good day, the mountain and valley views are world class. With a bit of luck, you can see for miles and all but imagine where LoR director Peter Jackson might have drawn his inspiration from (after the third beer, I’m certain I saw an Orc!).

Banking Facilities There are no ATM facilities on the mountain. However, Whakapapa accepts Eftpos and most major credit cards at all outlets, including the restaurants up in the ski area.

Whakapapa Village Facilities and Services Whakapapa village offers only the most basic facilities: a range of bars and restaurants; a motel; a holiday park with a basic camp store selling foodstuffs, drinks, ice cream and newspapers; the luxurious Bayview Chateau Tongariro hotel, and a Visitor Centre run by the Department of Conservation. There’s no supermarket, no chemist, and no petrol station.

You can hire snow gear at Edge to Edge. It has a range of ski, snowboard and alpine equipment, and can be found downstairs in the Skotel Alpine Resort.

Ohakune Facilities and Services The closest town to Whakapapa ski area is Ohakune, some 50 kilometres away. It’s a busy hub and offers a string of shops, including a super market where you can stock up your fridge, and purchase drinks and snacks to keep you going back at the accommodation or slopes. They also serve some of the best take-away coffee we’ve ever had – just keep an eye out for a VW van.

National Park Village There’s also National Park Village, 16 kilometres away from Whakapapa village. It has a few restaurants, bars, and a general store offering some very basic groceries, magazines, hot food and video rental. However the choice is limited, and there’s no fresh food. Opening hours are daily from 7am to 7pm.

The following three places sell or hire ski and snowboard gear at National Park village: Roy Turner’s Ski & Board Shop Elvin’s Ski and Board Rental Ski-Biz Hire & Sales

They also do boot fitting and are generally open from 8am to 5.30pm.

Alternatively, you can rent or purchase your gear up on the mountain.
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