The Ruapehu gondola – a sightseeing experience you won’t forget!
Imagine gliding your way through the clouds in comfort to the upper slopes of the majestic Mt Ruapehu on a beautiful warm sunny day!
Suppose you’re looking for a magical escape without wanting to put your ski boots on. Or you might be planning that well-deserved spring or summer getaway.
Either way, a sightseeing journey among the clouds at the Ruapehu gondola will be an experience you and your family won’t forget!
The Ruapehu gondola ride also known as the Sky Waka is one of New Zealand’s most unique and breath-taking gondola adventures that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Witness the supreme landscapes carved out by New Zealand’s central volcano Mt Ruapehu from epic heights around 6,628 feet above sea level.
Enjoy 360-degree views from the Whakapapa Sky Waka, a glass gondola with floor-to-ceiling windows that allows you to see the ski fields, walking tracks, waterfalls, and ancient lava flows.
Whether you’re a snow bunny or prefer to sightsee, the Ruapehu gondola ride is not to be missed!
Ride the Ruapehu gondola
The Ruapehu gondola, or the Sky ‘Waka’, translates as ‘voyaging canoe’ in Te Reo Māori and comprises 48 cabins.
Each cabin accommodates up to ten passengers with inbuilt ski racks, leather seats and full glass panels so you can appreciate the dazzling views of the world-heritage listed Tongariro National Park as you ascend the mountain in luxury.
The climb of 390m takes about 12 minutes to complete in the summer months, as the line slows down to allow you to settle in, unwind, and take in the spectacular views of Mt Ruapehu.
How much does the sky waka cost?
The Sky Waka gondola operates during the summer between December – April.
During winter, June – October (weather permitting).
Lifts are open from 10 am to 4 pm (weather permitting). Please check the weather and operational status on the daily report at Mtruapehu.com/report
Weekday sky waka gondola ride
- $49 (Adult)
- $29 (Youth 5- 17 years)
- $135 (2 Adults/2 Youths)
- Free (Infant)
Weekend sky waka gondola ride
- $59 (Adult)
- $34 (Youth 5- 17 years)
- $149 (2 Adults/2 Youths)
- Free (Infant)
For more information visit here.
The highest dining experience in New Zealand
Knoll Ridge Chalet
Sky Waka travels 1.8kms up to 2,020m at New Zealand’s highest dining experience, Knoll Ridge Chalet. The architecturally awarded and multi-storey eatery features something for everyone, from a sit-down extensive buffet with impeccable views to a quick cafe-style snack on the go.
Enjoy the Sky Waka Cafe
Soak in the views with fantastic barista coffee and a tasty grab-and-go snack or light lunch from Pātaka Café.
No need to wait for something delicious to eat here!
The Four Peaks Alley Cafe
This grab-and-go eatery is great for visitors who come to Mount Ruapehu in summer for adventure. Here you can stop and grab a quick bite of sushi before venturing onto one of the many walking tracks yet still have the option to sit down and take your time. (Peak summer days only)
Mount Ruapehu sightseeing walks
There are lots to do at Mt Ruapehu if you don’t like to ski or snowboard. With the Ruapehu gondola ride being a top choice, plenty more winter activities are available to keep the whole family entertained.
When summer approaches Mount Ruapehu is a fascinating mix of rock, pumice, scoria, and sand.
Guests can explore the unique volcanic terrain on foot with walks ranging from just 15 minutes to up to four hours, from the base of the Sky Waka gondola and the Knoll Ridge Chalet.
Descend the same path as ancient lava flows and lahars from the top of the Sky Waka Gondola, past stunning waterfalls, rugged volcanic terrain, and incredible views of the Central Plateau. Duration: 1-2 hours (descent).
Described as one of the best short walks in the Tongariro National Park, the Skyline Walk takes you from the top of the Sky Waka gondola (2020m) to the Skyline Ridge (2300m), with views out to Mt Ngauruhoe, Lake Taupō, and beyond. Duration: 1.5-2.5 hours (return)
The Meads Wall is a short ten-minute walk from the bottom of the Rangatira Chairlift at the Whakapapa ski field. It leads to a Lord of the Rings movie location as well as some spectacular rock climbing. Duration: 20 minutes. (return)
Experience the Ruapehu gondola ride and stay with us
Your exploration of New Zealand isn’t really complete until you’ve experienced the ride through the sky on the largest gondola in Aotearoa.
If you plan a trip to Mt Ruapehu, we welcome you to book your accommodation with us.
We have all the inside knowledge of where to go, and what to do.
And located only a 15-minute drive to Whakapapa ski field, which allows our guests to make the most of their precious time. There’s no need to spend your holiday in the car; our central location means you have easy access to all adventures in the area when you stay with us.
Beyond our comfortable and cosy rooms, we have hot tubs you can soak in after a long day out exploring.
For a wild adventure, stunning scenery, and an unforgettable dining experience, make the Ruapehu gondola ride a part of your adventure and wind down with us.
Call us today and see what all the buzz is about!