Best time to visit New Zealand

Mt Ruapehu Crater Climb in New Zealand 2024-2025

You will see rugged rocky slopes, ancient lava flows, glacial valleys and the largest Ruapehu Crater Lake

Best time: December–April

Mt Ruapehu Crater Climb
Mt Ruapehu Crater Climb
Mt Ruapehu Crater Climb

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.

Practical info

When is the best time of year to climb Mt Ruapehu crater in New Zealand?

The ideal time to climb the Mt Ruapehu Crater depends on the weather conditions. Climbing is best between December and April, with December and January considered the top months. Before heading out, it's important to consult the weather forecast as temperature, precipitation, and wind are among the primary factors that can influence climbing conditions. Show more

Where does the Mt Ruapehu Crater Hike start?

Whakapapa Ski Area, roughly 11 kilometers from National Park Village, is where hikers start the Mt Ruapehu Crater Climb. The journey begins with a chairlift ride to the top of the 2,020-meter ski field, which provides stunning views of the whole route. It's then a long and challenging hike to the Dome Ridge and ultimately up the mountain to the Mt Ruapehu Crater's peak. Show more

What are the challenges of climbing Mt Ruapehu crater in New Zealand?

The Mt Ruapehu Crater Climb is tough and necessitates adequate fitness and preparation. The ascent up the mountain is steep, and the rocky terrain can be irregular and unsteady. The weather can change quickly, and hikers must prepare for wind, rain, and even snow. Eruptions from the volcano may also pose a risk, necessitating hikers' awareness of potential hazards and compliance with any safety precautions implemented on the mountain. Show more

What equipment should I take for the Mt Ruapehu Crater Climb?

Hikers embarking on the Mt Ruapehu Crater Climb should pack the appropriate equipment for the task. It's crucial to have hiking boots with ankle support, and warm waterproof clothing. Food and plenty of water must be carried, as there is no water source en route. Hiking poles, sun protection, a first-aid kit, and a shelter or bivy bag may also be needed in case of an overnight stay. Show more

Where can I find experienced alpine hiking guides in New Zealand for the Mt Ruapehu Crater Climb?

Employing an experienced alpine hiking guide is the best way to ensure a safe and rewarding climb of Mt Ruapehu Crater in New Zealand. Some of the trustworthy companies offering guided tours of the mountain include Adventure Outdoors, Tongariro Crossing Shuttles & Transfers, and Adrift Outdoors. These guides offer equipment, lunch packs, and transportation to the mountain's base while prioritizing safety and providing essential information about the climb's risks and hazards. Show more

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