We still have a couple of months before the snow arrives so it’s the perfect time to head to Tongariro National Park and make the most of this season’s activities. One that we think is well worth the trip is the Whakapapa Skyline Walk.
Described as one of the best short walks, the Whakapapa Skyline Walk takes you to the skyline ridge, 2,300 metres above sea level. From here you’ll see stunning views of the rocky structures that form the Tongariro volcanic zone.
The walk takes around two hours to complete but we know that once you’re at the top, you’ll spend extra time taking in the breathtaking views and capturing some amazing photos.
Without the snow, Mount Ruapehu is a fascinating mix of rock, pumice, scoria and sand. You’ll see all the different material that makes up our beloved maunga during your journey on the Whakapapa Skyline Walk.
An adventurous day trip for the family
If you love a good family adventure, the Whakapapa Skyline Walk could be right up your alley. Patience and good hiking shoes will be all you need to enjoy this walk with the kids.
The walk is well marked with white posts which guide you through each section. However, it’s not a structured track so you will need to navigate through slippery areas and rocky formations. This is something you’ll need to consider before tackling the walk with the family but, with a good amount of patience, we think it’s a great opportunity for a family day out in the fresh, mountain air.
There are plenty of spots along the way where you can stop and take in the view. And when you reach the top, the view is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
Despite its short distance, it’s vital that you are prepared for all scenarios before heading off on the Whakapapa Skyline Walk. As you ascend up the mountain, the drop in temperature will be very noticeable so be sure to pack extra clothing, including thermal layers and a waterproof jacket.
The rocky terrain can be very slippery so walkers must wear comfortable shoes with a good grip.
Be sure to also carry plenty of water, snacks and a first aid kit.
Stunning views create the perfect photo opportunities
Be prepared to use up a fair amount of storage space on your phone! You’ll see photo opportunities everywhere you turn.
The statuesque Mount Ngaruahoe stands tall among a unique mountain landscape. Volcanic terrain spans as far as the eye can see and you can capture it all from the skyline ridge.
We often hear how surprised people are by what they see when they reach the skyline ridge. As the Whakapapa Skyline Walk is much easier and shorter than the Ruapehu Crater Lake walk, there’s a common misconception that the view won’t be as good.
But, as a short, moderate-level track, you don’t have to walk hours to reach the incredible views of the volcanic zone.
Getting to Whakapapa Skyline Walk is easy
Based in National Park Village, The Park Hotel is only a 15-minute drive to the Whakapapa Ski Field. Unlike most holiday destinations, summer is considered the quiet season for Mount Ruapehu, enabling visitors to drive all the way up the handy car parks at the base of the ski field.
The Whakapapa Skyline Walk begins at the top of the Sky Waka gondola. Here’s your opportunity to catch the Sky Waka and see the many different shapes and materials that form the mountain. When you reach the top, you simply step out and begin your ascent to the skyline ridge. It really is that easy.
Whakapapa has long been a favourite destination and the Sky Waka has enabled us to visit this section of Mount Ruapehu all year round.
If you ever wondered what was underneath all that snow, we highly recommend taking the Whakapapa Skyline Walk and discovering this for yourself.
Finish with a buffet lunch at The Pinnacles restaurant
If there’s one way to entice the kids up the mountain, it’s with the promise of a buffet lunch at the end.
The Pinnacles restaurant offers a buffet-style menu with a wide range of options to suit even the fussiest eaters. Look out to Whakapapa through the floor to ceiling windows and marvel at what you have just achieved.
Getting out into the open air is what coming to Tongariro National Park is all about. You’ll find the freshest air at the top of the Whakapapa Skyline Walk.
If you’ve never seen Mount Ruapehu without a blanket of snow, now is the time to head to Tongariro National Park and see what’s been hiding under the all that fresh powder. Seeing Mount Ruapehu without snow really makes you appreciate what nature is capable of.
We encourage all of our guests to explore Tongariro National Park the best they can while they’re here. When they’re ready to return to our accommodation, we make sure it’s the ideal setting to finish a day of epic adventuring.
Our on-site Spiral Restaurant and Bar has a relaxed ambience and offers our guests an easy dinner option at the end of a busy day.
It’s here that our guests spend time reflecting on the day that’s been and we love hearing stories of their adventures.
Catch the last of the warmer months and take the Whakapapa Skyline Walk before the snow sets in. To book quality accommodation in a handy location, call us at The Park Hotel today.