Tongariro National Park & Ruapehu

The Tongariro National Park is New Zealands oldest National Park and is a World Heritage Site. Looming over Lake Taupo in the Central North Island, Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro mountains are the dominant features of the Park. Mt Ruapehu is the highest mountain in the North Island at 2797m, whilst Ngauruhoe is the most distinctive, with its perfectly shaped cone. The mountains were gifted to the Government by the local Maori Chief Te Heuhue Tukino IV in 1887, ensuring their preservation as a natural heritage and a public area for enjoyment by all.

Ruapehu Alpine Lifts

In 1929 the first ski lift was installed on Mt Ruapehu. In 1953 Ruapehu Alpine Lifts was formed, with the first single chair lift installed at Whakapapa in 1954. Since then there have been significant developments of the commercial skifield operations on Ruapehu. In 2001 Ruapehu Alpine Lifts successfully bought the previously privately owned Turoa Skifield on the southern slopes of Ruapehu, allowing both skifields to effectively be run as one.
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Skiing an active volcano

Mt Ruapehu is home to the only commercial skifields on an active volcano. The most recent volcanic activity was in 1995 -1996, including ash eruptions and lahar. Prior eruptions included a laha, resulting in the Tangiwai Disaster. On Christmas Eve 1953, 151 lives lost were when the lahar swept away the Tangiwai rail bridge.

Today Ruapehu is the most intensively monitored volcano in New Zealand. Seismometers and survelliance of the Crater Lake all help towards an early warning system for the skifields and the nearby railway line, to ensure evacuation can occur if necessary.