Tararua Lodge, Whakapapa Ski field, Mt Ruapehu: Notes for newcomers
Tararua Lodge is a well-equipped facility with electricity, hot showers and a drying room. The lodge is at the same altitude (1,760m) as the top of Whakapapa’s Rangatira Express chair lift and is a 15 to 20 minute walk from the top of the lift with weekend gear.
From the end of the Bruce road the Lodge is a 40 to 60 minute hike up the ski field with weekend gear. These times will vary in winter due to the snow and weather conditions. This remoteness adds to the wilderness experience and in winter means you can ski to and from the lodge. See Visiting Tararua Lodge for a topo map with the walk up Tennents Gully shown.
Please note that the lodge currently has no phone. Mobile phones work in most places on the ski field. There is a card phone near the ticket office at the top of the Bruce Road.
Getting to the Lodge
Most club trips use private vehicles. The trip leader will confirm transport if you have indicated on the booking from that you require transport. Note that the driver will expect some recompense for fuel and running costs. Unless you hear otherwise, you will probably stop for takeaway food on the way up, and arrive at the car park about 11.00pm. Have a torch, boots and tramping gear (including waterproof parka, overtrousers, warm hat and gloves) at the top of your pack.
Please do not leave the car park without your trip leader
Stay with your group on the way up to the lodge (make sure people know that it is your first trip). It is your leader’s job to get you there safely; it is your job to stay close to the leader.
Week trips and non-member groups
For safety reasons all new groups need to be guided to the Lodge by an experienced person capable of finding the lodge in all weather. It is the responsibility of the TTC trip leader to get you to the lodge safely from the top of the Bruce Road (often tyre chains are required for the road).
It is to coordinate with the leader. You will not want to arrive and find the lodge locked! If it is a good day the leader may be skiing so initial contact should be made in the evenings or early morning. The leader will assess the weather and the group and determine the best way for the group to safely get to the Lodge.
Access on foot
RAL will allow foot passengers and gear to upload on the Rangatira lift in the morning and afternoon under these terms if you require it.
- for the late night travellers it is essential to carry a torch or headlamp and have appropriate foot wear and/or alpine boots for navigating the ice when required
- if you are walking up onto the mountain please take extreme care around groomers, particularly if you suspect they are operating the winch – stay well clear until the groomer has unhook the winch. A headlamp and high vis is a great way to be seen at night by our snowmobile operators as well.
What gear to bring
- Pack (essential) – you will have to carry it, possibly up hill through soft snow, so pack light!
- Boots (essential) - ski boots, tramping boots, or other stiff soled boots;
- Storm gear (essential) – waterproof parka , overtrousers, hat or balaclava, and gloves;
- LED headlamp (recommended) or torch with good batteries
- Snow goggles, sun glasses, sunscreeen, sun hat
- Pillow case, sleeping bag, towel and toiletries – mattress and pillow are provided.
- Change of clothes for the lodge, and a pair of indoor shoes;
- Please pay lodge fees in advance with online banking;
- Personal stuff as needed, eg clothes for the lodge, towel, toiletries.
Communal breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided. (Unless as a large group you have made other arrangements or it is a self cater trip.) You may be asked to help with the shopping. You maybe asked to help carry food and other supplies up to the lodge. Duties will be rostered. You are responsible for your own snack food for day trips.
The trip leader will show you where fire exits and extinguishers are. Keep footwear, raincoat and torch by your bunk so you are prepared to leave the lodge in emergencies during the night.
There is no booking system in 2022. It is first come, first parked. There are overnight carparks indicated as being specifically for clubs.
Please note however if you are going to the lodge overnight:
- carpark 2 is level so RAL believe it will be safer and more easily accessed by service vehicles where required.
- there are circa 400 parks set aside for overnight parking.
Chains should always be carried in your vehicle, after snow you may need them to extract your vehicle if they haven’t been able to clear around it. A shovel is also useful for clearing accumulated snow from around your vehicle if needed.
Ruapehu Alpine Lifts request that:
- when the park is clear of snow can you ensure that you park within the marked car spaces.
- take care as to how you park allowing other cars to move out when required.
Bruce Road overnight Closure
If DOC's roading contractors believe road conditions overnight will be poor, they will close Bruce Road at 6pm. Live updates on the this will be displayed on the NZTA road conditions website
DOC have indicated they may consider club volunteers managing road access after hours if an acceptable safe process can be agreed, but this will be a work in progress.