Skotel Alpine Resort is conveniently located in Whakapapa Village at the foot of Mount Ruapehu, within 500 meters of Tongariro National Park Whakapapa Visitor Centre.

Hiking trails start directly at the hotel, and the Sky Waka as well as the Mount Ruapehu ski field (Jun-Oct) are a 6km drive up the mountain.


Skotel Alpine Resort is perfectly located for hikers and walkers of all abilities. The hotel is the ideal base for exploring the UNESCO dual-world-heritage Tongariro National Park – and the many hiking and biking trails in the area.

Here’s some of our favourite walking and hiking trails:

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Length: 19.4km
Track Starts: Seasonal shuttles can be arranged from Skotel Alpine Resort – ask at reception.

One of the most popular things to do in this region in Summer with between 400 and 1000 people making the walk each day! Regarded as the best one-day trek in New Zealand and among the top ten single-day treks in the world. This is a challenging but rewarding hike across an active volcanic landscape, and it’s important to go prepared. More info.

Tongariro Northern Circuit

Length: 44.9km | 3-4 days
Track Starts: Directly from Skotel Alpine Resort

From late October to April this hike in the volcanic heart of Tongariro National Park enjoys a landscape of stark glacial contrasts and alpine views. From May to late October the hike should only be attempted by experienced and well equipped people, facilities are reduced and hazards including ice, snow and avalanches are present.  A good level of fitness is required.
Good to know: If you are staying at Skotel Alpine Resort before and after doing the Tongariro Northern Circuit, you can park your car at Skotel Alpine Resort while you are on the hike for free.

Taranaki Falls

Length: 2 hour return, 6km loop
Track Starts: Directly from Skotel Alpine Resort

The Taranaki Falls track has excellent mountain views and crosses a range of terrain. The upper and lower tracks form a loop with the majestic 20m falls situated around the half-way point.

Tama Lakes Tramping Track

Length: 5 to 6 hours return, 17 km in-out
Track Starts: Directly from Skotel Alpine Resort

The Tama Lakes Tramping Track begins on the Taranaki Falls Walk and veers to the left of Tama Lakes continuing on to Waihohonu Hut. It then climbs steeply to a viewpoint with views of both lakes.

Whakapapa Nature Walk

Length: 15 minute loop
Track Starts: 250m behind Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre (track starts within short walk from Skotel Alpine Resort)

The Whakapapa nature walk is upon a sealed loop track that gives walkers a glimpse of the various unique flora of Tongariro National Park, with interpretive signage along the way.

Ridge Walking Track

Length: 30-40 minute return
Track Starts: 150m above the Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre (track starts within short walk from Skotel Alpine Resort)

After a short climb to a ridge through a beech forest, the Ridge Walking Track emerges into shrublands with lovely views of the mountains and surrounding landscape.

Silica Rapids Walking Track

Length: 2.5 hours return, 7km loop
Track Starts: 250m above the Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre (track starts within short walk from Skotel Alpine Resort)

The Silica Rapids Track crosses the Whakapapanui Stream with creamy-white Silica Rapid terraces and meanders through beech forest, eventually to Silica Rapids.The walk returns via a climb on the side of a tussock-covered lava flow and a small clump of mountain beech and toatoa.

Whakapapanui Walking Track

Length: 2 hours return, 6km in-out
Track Starts: 250m above the Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre (track starts within short walk from Skotel Alpine Resort)

Take the Silica Rapids trail and veer off to the right on the Whakapapanui Walk towards the stream.

Whakapapaiti Valley Tramping Track

Length: 4 to 5 hours return, 26km loop
Track Starts: 250m above the Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre (track starts within short walk from Skotel Alpine Resort)

Follow the same track for the Silica Rapids Track for about 45 minutes to the junction of the Whakapapaiti Track. It goes through forest and open tussock-covered terrain, across the bridge of the Whakapapaiti River and continues up the valley.

Tawhai Falls

Length: 20 minute return
Track Starts: 4km below the Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre

Enjoy a family-friendly return walk through mountain toatloa and beech forest to an impressive 13m waterfall that tumbles over the edge of an ancient lava flow. Lord of the Rings movie fans will be interested to know that  Tawhai falls is the location of Gollum’s pool!

Skyline Walk

Length:1.5-2 hours return
Track Starts: From the top of Sky Waka gondola

This walk is described as one of the best short hikes in the Tongariro National Park, the Skyline Walk travels from Sky Waka gondola to the Skyline Ridge enjoying views out to Mt Ngauruhoe, Lake Taupo and beyond. This walk is open between December and April (weather dependant).

Waterfalls Descent

Length: 1-2 hours one way descent
Track Starts: From top of Sky Waka gondola

From the Sky Waka gondola descend the same path as ancient lava flows and lahars past picturesque waterfalls, rugged volcanic terrain and stunning Central Plateau views. This walk is open between December and April (weather dependant).

Meads Wall

Length: 20 minutes return
Track starts: from the bottom of the Rangatira Chairlift at Whakapapa Ski Field

Take the short 10 minute walk on a rocky trail to Meads Wall, this Lord of the Rings movie location enjoy gorgeous views over steep cliffs. This walk is open between December and April (weather dependant).

Wild West Trail

Length: 2-2.5 hours return
Track starts: From the top of Sky Waka gondola

Follow the trail markers west on a journey winding downhill through open terrain and enjoying views out to Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Taranaki

*pictured – Meads Wall


The Sky Waka gondola

Enter one of 48 gondola cabins, each seating up to 10 people and glass encased to make the most of the panoramic views, and enjoy the scenic ride rising into the clouds 2020m above sea level. The climb of 390m or journey of 1.8km takes approximately 12 minutes each way. The line is slowed down in summer to allow guests to relax and take in views out to the Central Plateau.

For further information including ticketing visit Mt Ruapehu.

Image courtesy of Visit Ruapehu.

Sky Waka Gondola Summer


Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Park – and the many hiking and biking trails in the area.

Visit Taranaki Falls, Tama Lakes and Silica Rapids and for those up for a day trail walk, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

Shuttles (seasonal) for the crossing and for those wishing to start the Northern Circuit at Mangatepopo Hut can be booked upon arrival and leave from our doorstep.

We even offer lunch packages so you won’t get hungry on your adventures, and hiking gear can be hired from our onsite shop, Edge to Edge.

After an exciting day hiking, biking, skiing (Jun-Oct) or sight-seeing guests can enjoy a relaxing sauna, or unwind over a drink or a meal at the Skotel Restaurant and Bar. Our guests can also stay connected with free WiFi.

To find out more about Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro Alpine Crossing and more hiking options take a look at the featured hikes below.

You can also browse and book a wide range of Ruapehu and New Zealand tours and attractions via our tour booking partner.

Check out Hiking New Zealand for some fantastic hiking inspiration including the Ultimate North Island and the Ultimate New Zealand hikes that both pass through Whakapapa twice!


Before you head out in to the great outdoors, it’s always a good idea to make sure that you are prepared. Below are some resources to help your planning.

Plan My Walk takes the guesswork out of the critical planning phase by bringing together the information you need.   

The easy-to-use app, brought to you by the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council, includes more than 1000+ NZ tracks, weather warnings, watches and forecasts, track specific alerts, interactive gear lists and other useful planning advice such as track reviews from other users.   

You can create a trip plan, add group members, assign an emergency contact, and share your plan with others.  Click here to visit Plan My Walk.

MSC Outdoor Safety New Zealand Mountain Safety Council also provides information on safety planning and first aid (including hypothermia). Click here for further information.

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Traveller Review Award


Skotel Alpine Resort
Whakapapa Village, SH 48
PO Box 30, Ngauruhoe Place
Mt Ruapehu

Freecall 0800 756 835
Intl. +64 7892 3719

Skotel Alpine Resort is a true alpine retreat nestled in tussock on the edge of Whakapapa Village in the heart of Tongariro National Park.

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