Mt Ruapehu

Taupo & the Ruapehu Region

Mt Ruapehu (2797m) is the North Island's highest mountain and one of the world’s most active volcanoes. One year-long eruption began in March 1945, spreading lava over Crater Lake and sending clouds of ash as far as Wellington. During the heavy ashfalls, hundreds of cases of ‘Ruapehu throat’ were reported. On Christmas Eve 1953, the lip of Crater Lake collapsed and an enormous lahar (volcanic mudflow) swept away everything in its path, including a railway bridge. A crowded train plunged into the river, killing 151 people, making it one of NZ’s worst tragedies.

Ruapehu also rumbled in 1969, 1973 and spectacularly in 1995–96. In 2007, a primary school teacher almost died when a rock was propelled through the roof of a hiking shelter, crushing his leg.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Taupo & the Ruapehu Region attractions

1. Mt Ngauruhoe

9.49 MILES

Northeast of Ruapehu, Mt Ngauruhoe (2287m) is the national park's youngest volcano and the most classically perfect in its conical shape. Its first…

2. Lake Rotokura

10.24 MILES

For some peaceful moments away from the mountains, consider a walk to this bush-smothered lake, the centrepiece of the Lake Rotokura Ecological Reserve,…

5. Mt Tongariro

11.34 MILES

Ongoing rumbles are reminders that all the volcanoes in this area are very much in the land of the living. In 2012 Te Maari, a crater on Mt Tongariro …

8. Big Carrot

12.63 MILES

Maybe not so much 'Don't Miss' as 'Impossible to Miss', this roadside tribute to Ōhakune's biggest crop was erected in 1984. Carrots were first grown in…