What you need to know before going up the Sky Waka

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On Our Doorstep

What you need to know before going up the Sky Waka

On Our Doorstep

What you need to know before going up the Sky Waka

Ride New Zealand’s most unique gondola, high above the UNESCO world-heritage-listed mountain area. For wild adventure, for supreme beauty, and for an unforgettable dining experience.

The Sky Waka has an uphill capacity of 2,400 people per hour and operates at a speed of 6meters per second and you get to enjoy this with floor to ceiling views of the volcanic landscape.

What to know before you visit the Sky Waka

The Sky Waka gondola gives views of this terrain from above, carrying guests on a 1.8km journey. On arrival at 2020m, guests are welcomed to the Knoll Ridge Chalet offering different food and beverage options, with views extended out across the maunga and Central Plateau.

A journey on the Sky Waka gondola – translated to mean ‘voyaging canoe’ in Te Reo Māori – begins at the base station of Whakapapa ski area, a short walk across the plaza from carparks.

Guests are welcomed aboard one of 48 gondola cabins, each seating up to ten people and glass encased to invite in the panoramic views.

The climb of 390m or journey of 1.8km takes about 12 minutes each way. The line is slowed down in summer to allow guests to settle in, unwind, and take in views out to the Central Plateau.

Lifts Open 10am to 4pm (weather permitting). Please check weather and operational status on daily report at Mtruapehu.com/report

Even in summer, it is recommended you check the temperature and dress appropriately for the alpine weather. 


How to get to the Sky Waka

The Sky Waka is situated at the end of Bruce Road, Whakapapa Village, New Zealand.

It is 1hr 15min away from Taupo and 6km away from Whakapapa Village. 

Always check the weather forecast as especially during the winter months, the road is only accessible with 4WD and chains. 


What is included in admission?

Admission for the Sky Waka is for a  single return trip on the Sky Waka gondola, starting at the base station. Passes are open dated and can be used on any operational day during the summer season.



Things to do at the top of the Sky Waka 

Without the snow, Mount Ruapehu is a fascinating mix of rock, pumice, scoria, and sand. Explore on foot, with three by our team to help you navigate through the rocky formations. Good walking or hiking shoes are recommended. These can be hired, subject to availability on mountain for $10 per day.

Coffee Corner

Add a caffeinated hit to your day. Hot and cold beverages, and cabinet food options to tide you over. Ethically produced, premium Gravity coffee, made by our baristas. Located in the Knoll Ridge Chalet.

Skyline Walk

Duration: 1.5-2.5 hours (return). Described as one of the best short walks in the Tongariro National Park, the Skyline Walk takes you from the top of the Sky Waka gondola (2020m) to the Skyline Ridge (2300m), with views out to Mt Ngauruhoe, Lake Taupō, and beyond.

Waterfalls Descent 

Duration: 1-2 hours (decent). Descend the same path as ancient lava flows and lahars from the top of the Sky Waka Gondola, past stunning waterfalls, rugged volcanic terrain, and incredible views of the Central Plateau.

Meads Wall 

Duration: 20 minutes (return). The Meads Wall is a short ten-minute walk from the bottom of the Rangatira Chairlift at the Whakapapa ski field. It leads to a Lord of the Rings movie location as well as some spectacular rock climbing.