If you are going to Mt Ruapehu to ski, snowboard or sightsee this winter, DOC recommends planning ahead, and using a shuttle from one of the villages around Tongariro National Park. Shuttles are good for the environment, reduce traffic and roads can be slippery in winter conditions.
DOC Tongariro District Operations Manager Bhrent Guy says winter in the park is beautiful. "We have vast spaces for walking and hiking through native bush and space for endangered native wildlife such as kiwi and whio to thrive. We also have space for visitors to ski, hike, bike, do short walks or have family fun, but we have limited space for all day carparking, so the best way to access the park is to use a shuttle."
Car parking in Whakapapa Village has time restrictions. Be prepared, plan ahead and book a door-to-door shuttle or look up the bus timetable for the snow shuttle from the local transport hubs in Taupo, Turangi or National Park Village.
The parking restrictions in Whakapapa Village are in place to reduce traffic congestion, provide space to access the visitor information centre and give enough time for walkers to complete short works and enjoy local amenities.
The restrictions also ensure the road has no overnight parking to enable snow clearing and emergency services access along State Highway 48. Visitors with accommodation bookings in Whakapapa Village will have carparking spaces within their facilities.
DOC also takes this opportunity to share a simple safety message about driving to, and in, the alpine environment where roads can have snow cover or black ice: Drive to the conditions.
"Stay safe, catch a shuttle, wrap up warm and most importantly have fun this winter!" Bhrent says.