After a month-long hiatus, following the close of the winter season, the Mt Ruapehu team have reloaded the Sky Waka gondola cabins and opened the Knoll Ridge Chalet doors for summer.
The Mt Ruapehu summer offering, which is open to May 1, 2022, includes the Sky Waka gondola sightseeing experience and dining experiences at the award-winning Knoll Ridge Chalet.
Short walks, varying from just 15 minutes to up to four hours, from both the base of the Sky Waka gondola and from the Knoll Ridge Chalet, also give guests the opportunity to explore the unique volcanic terrain on foot.
The Sky Waka gondola transports guests 1.8km up and through rugged and spectacular landscape, to an altitude of 2020m above sea level.
Floor to ceiling views on the return gondola journey capture the unique volcanic terrain and panoramas out to neighbouring mountains Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe.
At 2020m, guests are welcomed to the architecturally awarded, Knoll Ridge Chalet. Dining experiences include an extensive buffet lunch at the Knoll Ridge Chalet's Pinnacles restaurant, and a café style offering.
The buffet lunch comprises a variety of dishes, locally sourced where possible, from antipasti to main-style, slow-roasted and poached, meat and seafood, to a dessert station, and cheese board.
In the month of December, the buffet lunch will take on a Christmas theme, fit with turkey, glazed ham, pavlova, and Christmas pudding. The Christmas buffet will be available every day through December, excluding Christmas Day itself, between 11am and 2pm.
Booking is recommended, and operations are weather dependent, in terms of Sky Waka operation to ascent to the Knoll Ridge Chalet.
After a tricky winter season and some uncertainty around Covid-19 and dates, the team is looking forward to Summer 2021/22.
Whakapapa ski area manager Steve Manunui says the team is ready and excited.
"As Kiwis begin to plan ahead for summer, we know they will be looking for memorable moments that make the most of the sun and the unique natural experiences that our country has to offer.
"We look forward to welcoming guests back to the maunga, where just a few hours from home, they can access remote mountain adventures and our awesome dining experiences."
Vaccine certificates will be required to access all facilities, in line with the Government's move to the Covid-19 protection framework, and the introduction of the My Vaccine Pass.
Just three hours from Hamilton, four from Wellington and five hours from Auckland, getting far away, exploring unique volcanic terrain, and dining at New Zealand's highest restaurant, is closer than you think.