Situated about an hour and 15 minutes drive from Lake Taupo is the beautiful Mt Ruapehu, New Zealand’s largest active volcano. We decided to do a trip to see the volcano, which is nestled in the Tongariro National Park and spent a really lovely couple of hours there, exploring the area. What I found really interesting was that the weather was so hot (for us!) sitting on steady temperatures of around 25 degrees for the last 3 weeks or so, but there were still many pockets of snow on Mt Ruapehu, which made for a really pretty sight.
Over winter the village at the top is a bustling ski village and during the summer months it remains open for visitors to walk and wander around. The chairlift also operates, so you can take that up to the top to soak in the views, if you like. I couldn’t quite get my head around the height drop from the chairlift, so the rest of the crew caught it to the top, while I walked up part of the mountain. Since I was wearing a dress and sandals, that was quite a feat in itself as the ground was quite slippery and loose. Coming down was even trickier, but I made it!
In the village at the top, there is a little shop that sells touristy souvenirs, ski clothes and a nice cafe where we enjoyed a hot drink and a snack. Half way down the mountain, there is also a tourist information centre, which is worth a look if you’re planning a visit – especially if you’re going to do some walks in the area and it also has some interesting information about the 1996 eruption of Mt Ruapehu.
On the drive back down we stopped to do a small walk to a waterfall and filled up our drink bottles in the icy cold water that was running furiously off the mountain. I’d love to go back in another season and do some day walks, it’s such a beautiful part of New Zealand.