As the highest private residence in New Zealand, we enjoy a pretty special spot on the maunga!
Drive past the Chateau at Iwikau Village, and keep going all the way up to the ‘Top of the Bruce’ (Whakapapa Village).You can leave your car here for as long as you’re staying at the hut. MAKE SURE you pre-book parking with the RAL parking app if you’re arriving at the weekend (see “Park” next).
Before you set out, make sure you can get up the mountain! DOC will close the barrier arm over the Bruce road at Iwikau Village if the weather is particularly bad (or forecast to be bad).
RAL operates a carpark booking system during the 2021 season (weekends only, from 31 July – 5 September). There’s no charge, this is all about managing capacity.
Booking a space in the car park will not be required if you arrive after 10am on peak weekend days, any weekend before or after the above dates, or any midweek days this season. If you’re planning to arrive after 10am on peak weekend days, you’re not required to book but you’ll only be let in if there is parking spaces available.
The easiest way to get to the hut from the carpark is to ride the first Chair (Rangatira Express) to Hut flat, then walk the last 50m. Alternatively, ride the Gondola (Sky Waka) right up and ski down to Hut flat. If the lifts aren’t going when you arrive, it takes about 35-40mins to walk up (see “Walk” section below). Feel free to ask a member (or the booking officer) for guidance if it’s your first time.
RAL will only allow foot traffic on the Rangatira Express from 8.45-9am and 3.45-4pm (they have to stop the lift). You still need a valid lift pass to ride. Outside those times you need to put your skis/board on to ride the chair. You will find it easiest to hold your pack in front of you, or sling it over one arm, rather than wear it on your back.
Click here to see RAL lift status.
At the top of the first Chair (Rangatira Express) is Hut flat. Take off your skis/board and you’ll see a lodge right in front of you with a big red “RSC” badge on it. There are two other club lodges lined up behind that. Our hut is the top hut (i.e. third one). The easiest path is around the left of the two RSC huts, but you can go to the right if you prefer, there’s not much difference. It’s a 5 min walk from top of first chair, if you have kids they will complain, you’ll end up carrying their skis…but we’ll have a drink waiting for you!
NOTE: If you’re walking up the Rock Garden at night: a). keep your group together and don’t let anyone drop behind or get out of sight; b). you should always have a torch / head lamp on so snow groomers can see you; c) walk on the edges of the ski run, especially if it has just been groomed (keeps the run in good condition for everyone skiing the next day and helps any snow groomers working at the time to see you); and most importantly keep well clear of snow groomers!
Click here for the weather report.