New car park booking system for Mt Ruapehu

A new bookable parking system has been laucnhed for busy weekend at Mt Ruapehu's Turoa and Whakapapa ski fields for the 2020 season. Here's how the system works.

A new parking booking system is being introduced this season to help ease traffic congestion at Mt Ruapehu’s Turoa and Whakapapa ski fields during peak times and to manage a sustainable volume of visitors.

With the new system, those who plan to drive up to the mountain on weekends from 25 July to 27 September 2020 need to book parking online. The process to book and secure a carpark is free to customers this season.

“This means visitors can book a [car] park in advance and put an end to waiting in frustrating queues and being turned around at the last minute," says RAL CEO Jono Dean.

“We’ve listened to the frustrations about queuing for parking and general volumes of visitors to the ski areas and we’ve come up with what we believe is a good solution that will ensure fair and equitable parking for everyone.”

It is hoped the booking system will also encourage visitors to plan their trip in advance and avoid busy times, like weekends.

“While weekends will always be busy, skiers need to consider going up the mountain mid-week to avoid crowds and queues. The new booking system will show live availability so people can easily see when is the best time to visit.”

Visitors will be able to book parking online at from Wednesday, 22 July and every Wednesday from then on. Half of available parking spaces will be available from 10am each Wednesday, with remaining 50% released at 6pm. 

on a Wednesday which will include for the weekend ahead. The first release of availability will be on 

Car number plates will be scanned on arrival to match to the booking at a controlled entry point on Bruce Road or Ohakune Mountain Road.

Visitors will also be asked how many people will be in each car, which Dean says will help RAL manage the reduced Safe Carrying Capacities in place for both ski fields this season. Whakapapa is limited to 4,500 visitors and Turoa 3,700 a day.

Before heading up the mountain visitors should check the Mt Ruapehu website for the latest updates, snowcams, weather conditions and to book a carpark. This is a mandatory component on visiting Mt Ruapehu this season, says RAL.

Further information about the new car parking booking system can be found at

Catch a shuttle

Visitors are also encouraged catch shuttles to the ski areas, especially on days when the mountain roads are icy. “While RAL isn’t operating a shuttle service this season there are a number of great local shuttle operators who transport visitors up the mountain from local towns," says Dean. Shuttles to the Whakapapa ski area can be caught from accommodation in local villages, as well as the new park and ride facility in National Park Village. Find a list of local shuttle operators here.

Book day passes online

In other changes for this season, visitors also need to book Mt Ruapehu day passes online in advance this season with no day passes sold on the mountain. There will be no cash transactions on the mountain this season and visitors are asked to bring their payment cards. 

Sledding tickets can be booked and purchased in Happy Valley, however. Visit to buy passes.

Posted in Latest News on 08 July, 2020