Visitor reviews for Whakapapa Ski Resort

Whakapapa Ratings

Overall: 3.3. Based on 39 votes and 54 reviews. Vote

Snowsure: 3.1

(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Whakapapa is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.

Variety of pistes: 3.9

(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Whakapapa has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.

Off-piste: 4.1

(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.

Scenery: 4.2

(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.

Access: 3.4

(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Whakapapa.

Public Transport: 3.1

(1) There are no buses or taxis to Whakapapa, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.

Accommodation: 3.5

(1) No places to stay in/near Whakapapa, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.

Cheap Rooms: 3.4

(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.

Luxury Hotels: 3.5

(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Whakapapa.

Ski in/Ski out: 3.2

(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.

Childcare: 2.7

(1) There are no child care facilities at Whakapapa, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.

Snowmaking: 3.4

(1) Whakapapa relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.

Snow Grooming: 3.6

(1) There are no snow groomers at Whakapapa, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Whakapapa are groomed daily.

Shelter: 2.1

(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Whakapapa is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.

Nearby options: 2.7

(1) If snow conditions are poor at Whakapapa, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.

Regional rating: 3.6

(1) Whakapapa usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.

Lift Staff: 3.6

(1) The staff at Whakapapa are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Whakapapa are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.

Crowds/Queues: 2.9

(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.

Ski Schools: 4.2

(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.

Hire and Repairs: 3.9

(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.

Beginners: 3.5

(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.

Intermediates: 4.0

(1) No intermediate terrain at Whakapapa, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.

Advanced: 4.4

(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.

Snow Park: 2.8

(1) Not even a kicker at Whakapapa, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.

Cross-country: 2.5

(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Whakapapa, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.

Luge/Toboggan: 2.6

(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Whakapapa has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.

Mountain Dining: 3.2

(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.

Eating: 3.1

(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.

Apres-Ski: 2.6

(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.

Other Sports: 1.8

(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.

Entertainment: 2.7

(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.

Winter Walks: 3.4

(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.

Ski Pass Value: 2.8

(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.

Value (National): 3.5

(1) Overall, Whakapapa is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.

Value (Global): 3.2

(1) Overall, Whakapapa is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.

Show all 35 ratings

September 08, 2017
Chris from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
Keep up all the negative comments about Whakapapa, it will keep the hoards away! Seriously though, I don't know what people complain about. We are lucky to have a place to ski that doesn't require getting on a plane, if you live in the North Island. Whakapapa has all the terrain you could wish for if you are a serious skier with good ability and are prepared to do a little hiking; there are huge wide open slopes, steep bowls and shutes and great snow if you go on the back of a weather system. There is also great challenging terrain that is lift accessed if you're prepared to do some long traverses. I've been skiing Whakapapa for 45 years and have skied at a lot of overseas resorts but I still love our home ski field.
July 11, 2005
Andrew Crang from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
Whakapapa, New Zealand's biggest ski resort and in my opinion-the best!. Whakapapa has an average snow depth of 3.5m in the peak of winter ( august-september) Along with breathtaking scenery of the three volacanoes comes the awesome skiing, great lift acsessed backcountry terrain and those double black diamond runs down the famous pinnacles. My obsession with skiing is all thanks to Whakapapa. Not only does whakapapa have those changelling runs but 5 lifts are dedicated to beginners. I took the famous "walk to the summit" and the breath taking ski down along with six inches of fresh powder. The far west in my eyes is the highlight of this ski area ranging from blue to double black diamond, this area acesses the three glaciers that run on the west side of Mt ruapehus whakapapa ski field. On a good year skiers can ski from summit (2797) to the grand chateau (800m) and the bottom chair is 1600m above sea level I enjoyed that run! all 15km of it! all I can say to you is ive been to america, ive experieced those powder days and I can say to you as an american Whakapapa is up there and with only 2% of the mountain used, who could no, one day there might be in excess of 200 lifts, 150 more than we have now. Come to Mt ruapehu and enjoy what I experienced afterall its in our summer!
July 30, 2018
Carien from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
What a rip off! We love skiing, but not that much. We went there last Saturday, and were really looking forward it. Took 2 hours just to get up the mountain ($50 family of 4) was free last year when showing your pass going down. We tried to get a lift pass and had someone help who can’t speak or understand English. Once in, what a shock! 4 toilets each men/women for thousands of people. Filthy and smelly. The cafe did not have enough food available at any given time for the demand. People were sitting on the staircase because they can not handle that many. We had to stand whilst eating. Overpriced food. By now someone should have noticed the problems and fixed it since they are ripping off visitors. My first ever review and I just had to let everyone know what to expect. We will definitely not be going there again.
May 25, 2011
Brendan from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
You can all complain all you like about long queues, slow lifts etc but at the end of the day we have great terrain within a reasonably short distance from Auckland. Earlybird season pass prices are great and the fact that you can use the 1 pass at Whakapapa and Turoa (2 biggest fields in NZ) makes for unbeatable value. The hike from the top of the Far West T-Bar on the West Ridge at Whakapapa to the Crater lake is highly recommended for not only the view but it gives you access to some great runs and only takes about 40mins. Weekdays are the best days as you can usually ride onto the chairlifts but weekends aren't bad if you exercise a little patience.
August 05, 2013
Tom Ryan from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
I don't know where another reviewer got their ideas from because in 35 years skiing Whakapapa I have really enjoyed this field. The staff are friendly and great and go through thorough training in customer relations. I would rate them the best in NZ. The ski field is actually owned by a charitable company, all profits going back into the ski field. While you do need a good covering of snow to cover the volcanic rocks, on a good day there is no place I would rather be skiing in New Zealand.
July 30, 2011
Julie from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
We went yesterday, awesome weather, had to strip off layers as it was very hot. Loved the day, snow was great, kids had a ball, staff were great & helpful. Hope to get back during the week soon without kids to try snowboarding or skiing for the first time. Roll on more snow.. Thanks Whakapapa Team. Awesome day out and only 2hrs drive from Rotorua.
October 26, 2015
Paul from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
An absolutely outstanding season! Best in many years. Staff were excellent. Went to Turoa twice this year; great terrain but way more icy than Whakapapa. Spent most time at Whakapapa. Black Magic was awesome, it was even wicked on the second last day of the season.
August 04, 2013
Michelle George from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
One of the best ski fields I have ever been to! Customer Relations were so helpful! Really looked after me and my kids. F&B staff were so friendly, and the prices were very reasonable. The Lifties were so good with the kids, they loved it! The excitement on their faces... We had such a good day. Thank you Mount Ruapehu and keep up the great work!
September 16, 2015
Diane from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
I love the "Magic Mountain." It is my heartland.
August 29, 2008
Olly from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
I think you will find that every 5 years or so, you can ski to the Chateau, I did it about 2 weeks ago. What Whakapapa does offer is some pretty intense terrain, if you have the skills and knowledge to ski it. I have skied in many places across the world, and even though it may not as good as many of those resorts, in my mind, Whakapapa is the best resort in New Zealand (on its day) Treble Cone has amazing snow, but over the last few years I have had several powder (actual powder) days that would better TC, with the advantage of much more terrain. You are right about the 1m to cover the rocks, but its been 3 years since we haven't had enough, ever heard of weather cycles? Hear about how bad the season was on the east coast of the states last year? I encourage you to go skiing soon, it's insane down there. [Comment by editor: the part of this review that contained sensitive text, directed to an individual, has now been removed]