In the middle of the Tongariro National Park lies Mount Ruapehu - one of the three volcanoes that make up the national park. This is the largest mountain on the North Island and combines the Turoa and Whakapapa skifields. This active volcano has erupted about 50 times since 1861, but most are just steam eruptions when lava contacts with water.

Mount Ruapehu is a year round source of action and adventure. During the winter months, the bars, cafes and chalets around Mount Ruapehu fill with skiers and snowboarders come to enjoy the winter fun. During the summer, visitors take advantage of the region's superb fishing, hiking, mountain and quad biking, whitewater rafting and other adventure activities. The area is also renowned for its wild beauty and rich Maori culture and history.

Turoa is one of the best downhill ski areas in New Zealand. Ideally suited for intermediate skiers, this popular field has wide groomed trails and the country's longest vertical drop (722m). There are natural half-pipes for snowboarding.  Whakapapa, on the north-western slopes of Ruapehu, is New Zealand's largest developed ski area with 30 groomed trails and spectacular lift-accessed backcountry terrain.