How to get to Mt Ruapehu

Mount Ruapehu is located in the center of the North Island of New Zealand. The distance from Auckland and Wellington to Mount Ruapehu is roughly equal, allowing it to service the whole populace of the North Island. The intended final destination in the Mount Ruapehu surrounding area, time availability, equipment requirements, accommodation etc will be the key factors in deciding which route is taken.

Those traveling from Auckland (or from Auckland International Airport) and as commonly said in New Zealand from “the North”,  will follow one of two general routes.

The first is typically taken by those who don’t need to stop in Taupo for equipment or supplies, and are heading straight for Tongariro, National Park, Whakapapa Village or any other destination on the Western side of the mountain. Depending on your starting location, this will either involve reaching Highway 4 or Highway 32, both of which link to Highway 47, on Mount Ruapehu’s Western side.

View Directions to Whakapapa village in a larger map

For tourists, visitors or those who need to stock up on supplies, Taupo is a convenient stop. While countless local shortcuts and tricks exist, State Highway 1 is the surefire way to reach Taupo and eventually carry on South. Roughly one and a half hours south is a right turn to Highway 49 which leads to Ohakune. As the largest town in the immediate Mount Ruapehu area, Ohakune serves a perfect base for any Mount Ruapehu activity.

View Directions to Ohakune in a larger map

Those traveling from Wellington, Picton, Palmerston North, or New Zealanders would say “from the South” will have a much easier time reaching Mount Ruapehu. Palmerston North will almost always be the first port of call. From there only two routes exist.

Those heading to Ohakune should take Highway 54 and a left turn on State Highway 1 and lastly a right on Highway 49. This will take just over 2 hours. Those heading to the Eastern side of the mountain will do exactly the same, omitting Highway 49.

View Directions to Ohakune in a larger map

Any travelers aiming straight for the Western side will take Highway 3 out of Palmerston North and follow it through with a left turn onto Highway 4. Depending on the intended destination, the trip from Palmerston North will be between two and a half and three hours by car.

View Directions to Whakapapa village in a larger map

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