Don't hold your breath for fine dining in Ohakune, National Park, or the Whakapapa villages. I can only assume that skiers and trekkers get so hungry they'll eat anything. Most of the time the offerings are fair to middling; but if it's any comfort, you won't starve. Ohakune has the best range of eateries, but be aware that some of them close in summer. Powderkeg Restaurant and Bar, at Powderhorn Chateau (tel. 06/385-8888), is a good winter bet for hearty meals and heaps of partying. It offers brasserie-style food. A more subdued, semi-fine-dining atmosphere characterizes Powderhorn's other year-round restaurant, the Matterhorn. There's always good food at the Fat Pigeon Cafe, bottom of Mountain Road (tel. 06/385-9423), where you can relax in a charming garden setting. The Mountain Rocks Café & Bar, Clyde and Goldfinch streets (tel. 06/385-8295), is the newest eatery where you can enjoy everything from big breakfasts to hearty dinners. It has a nice courtyard for outdoor summer dining.
In National Park Village
The dining scene is finally improving here, although it is still rather limited, and open hours are unpredictable at best. Ski Haus Restaurant & Bar, Carroll Street (tel. 07/892-2854), is open year-round for breakfast and dinner, serving filling fare such as steaks, chicken dishes, and a few vegetarian offerings. Eivins Café Bar, State Highway 4 (tel. 07/892-2844), is now in a new building, and the breakfasts, lunches, and dinners are guaranteed to fill a gap -- if the place is open! Basekamp Gourmet Burger Bar, Carroll Street (tel. 07/892-2872), is good for pizzas and chunky burgers -- try the venison and lamb burgers. The newest eatery, Station Café, National Park Railway Station, Station Road (tel. 07/892-2881), is proving popular, but it, too, is often closed during the day.
In Whakapapa Village
Your best meals here will be at the Ruapehu Restaurant(tel. 07/892-3809) at the Bayview Chateau Tongariro. The Chateau's Pihanga Cafe is open daily from 11:30am until late, and although it's long overdue for a decor revamp, the reasonably priced meals, all under NZ$25, will fend off hunger pangs. That's the best I can say about it. Across the road, Fergussons Café has counter food, light meals, and good coffee daily from 8:30am to 5pm, but it won't be winning prizes anytime soon, either. Skotel (tel. 07/892-3719) has a restaurant open to casual diners for breakfast and dinner. Once again, food is of the no-fuss, filling variety, but you'll find a great party atmosphere here in winter.
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.