Ohakune and National Park villages offer a good range of winter accommodations, but Whakapapa Village has fewer choices. You'll need to book well ahead to beat New Zealand skiers to the best beds -- and even the best are fairly mediocre. In summer, the area is popular with trampers and mountain bikers, and because some accommodations close after the ski season, it's still wise to reserve ahead. Rates given below include 12.5% GST.
This is where you'll find the greatest variety of accommodations, and it's only about an hour to Whakapapa, making it a good base. Powderhorn Chateau, bottom of Mountain Road (tel. 06/385-8888; www.powderhorn.co.nz), has the closest accommodations to the mountain on the Turoa side. It's definitely the best the town has to offer. It was built in 1995 and has 30 well-appointed rooms with private bathrooms for NZ$98 to NZ$230. Luxury apartments that sleep six go for NZ$750 to NZ$850 per night, with significantly lower off-peak rates. Ossie's SkiChalets & Apartments, 59 Tainui St. (tel. 06/385-8088; www.ossies-ohakune.co.nz), offers 14 two-story chalets with lovely Scandinavian-style timber interiors. Prices start at NZ$160, a good value for the money and cheaper again in summer.
In National Park Village
Centrally located just west of Whakapapa Ski Area, National Park Village has a nice selection of good-value, low-cost accommodations. It's also the only place that offers a view of all three mountains. Howard's Lodge, Carroll Street (tel./fax 07/892-2827; www.howardslodge.co.nz), is a friendly budget spot with backpacker dorm beds and simple twins, doubles, and quads with shared facilities, plus deluxe rooms with en-suite bathrooms. Their prices range from NZ$85 to NZ$180. National Park Backpackers, Finlay Street (tel./fax 07/892-2870; www.npbp.co.nz), is a new complex that's drawing a big crowd to its indoor climbing wall. Dorm beds are around NZ$25; doubles with en-suite bathrooms are NZ$70 to NZ$80.
In Whakapapa Village
This small alpine village has limited accommodations, unless you take a Whakapapa On-Snow package deal and stay in one of the on-field ski clubs. Whakapapa Holiday Park (tel. 07/892-3897; www.whakapapa.net.nz) has cabins, a self-contained lodge that sleeps 32, caravan and tent sites, and a fully stocked store. Prices start at NZ$65 for the lodge, NZ$18 per person for caravan and tent sites, and NZ$75 for cabins. It's pretty basic but sometimes it may be the only option left. Skotel Alpine Resort (tel. 0800/756-835 in NZ, or 07/892-3719; www.skotel.co.nz), has everything from backpacker rooms to smart deluxe units and self-contained chalets. There's a restaurant, a good sauna and Jacuzzis, and a fun-filled bar during ski season. Superior rooms and chalets are priced from NZ$175 to NZ$225. Backpackers pay NZ$30 to NZ$45.
The Bayview Chateau Tongariro(tel. 0800/242-832 in NZ, or 07/892-3809; www.chateau.co.nz), is the grande dame of the area. Built in 1929, the glorious old building has a New Zealand Historic Places Trust category I classification. Most guest rooms have been refurbished, and 40 new rooms are now available. This is where you'll find the nicest rooms. The junior suites are especially good value; if you feel like splashing out, go for the gorgeous, big Te Heu Heu suite and enjoy your own fireplace, Jacuzzi, and telescope. You pay top dollar in winter -- NZ$190 to NZ$475 -- and get a much better rate in summer. Guests enjoy access to a heated indoor pool, sauna, gym, bars, restaurants, and New Zealand's highest 9-hole golf course.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.