Mt Ruapehu Crater Climb is a strenuous and somewhat dangerous hiking route, as it means walking up the rugged rocks of active Mt Ruapehu volcano which is one of the largest New Zealand's summits outside of the Southern Alps. So the route is suitable only for the experienced alpine hikers able to spot the volcanic hazards and avoid them. The hike starts at Whakapapa ski area. The chairlift rises hikers 2,020 meters above the sea level, meanwhile, they admire the ancient lava flows below, which have been influenced by glaciation for the last 300,000 years. Then they hike towards the Dome Ridge, from which the largest crater lake can be seen. The best season for the crater climb is December through April.