Whangaehu Hut on Mt Ruapehu. Off the tourist circuit and a hidden gem. Like Rangipo it has views over the Desert Rd, but also down onto the snout of the Whangaehu Glacier 200m directly below the hut, and up to the Ruapehu summit.
An amazing spot if you catch it with some snow still around. Note that in winter this is a serious alpine trip. In summer though it's a good scramble for those who are fit and have a bit of navigation experience.
Used as an eastern base for Ruapehu summit climbs, and it a nice alternative spot for a more adveturous round-the-mountain trip. Slopes at 19009-2100m altitude anticlockwise towards Whakapapa are reasonable going as far as Pinnacles ridge, which is easiest crossed lower down.
The hut is NZ Apline Club (not DOC), is open for all comers, and payable by cheque / credit card by post.
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