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Sky Waka gondola open for sightseeing

New Zealand’s newest and most exciting tourism attraction opens today.

Sky Waka gondola travels 1.8 km’s through one of the North Island’s most rugged and spectacular landscapes high on Mt Ruapehu, past waterfalls and snow-laden peaks.

The ride will be equally as spectacular in the summer months.

The gondola travels from the Top of the Bruce base area directly to the Knoll Ridge Chalet and at peak times it will transport 2,400 people per hour over the 1.8km in approximately 5 minutes.

Ruapehu Alpine Lifts CEO Ross Copland says it’s a proud and exciting moment for not only the RAL team but the whole of New Zealand. “Sky Waka is one of a kind in New Zealand and will transform the mountain visitor experience lifting it to a whole new level.

“Sky Waka also brings with it a huge economic boost for the local economy through accommodation, restaurant and other sightseeing activities, and also opens up a lot of job opportunities for locals all year round," says Ross.

“And a big thank you goes to the Provincial Growth Fund for granting us a loan and recognising the value of the Sky Waka to the local economy and people.”

Sky Waka has fifty gondola cabins with floor to ceiling glass for breathtaking views, internal ski racks, audio and lighting and individual leather seats. It offers business-class luxury to passengers befitting of the UNESCO Dual World Heritage status of Whakapapa Ski Area.

Each cabin accommodates 10 passengers and even the tallest skiers will be able to stand upright in the cabin with more than 2m of internal clearance.

Until the upper mountain ski fields opens Sky Waka will only be operating for sightseeing.  Once riders reach Knoll Ridge Chalet they can experience the newly renovated dining areas.

At 2020m above sea level, with breathtaking views of the Pinnacles and valley below, Knoll Ridge Chalet is open year round for a breath taking dining and sightseeing experience.

The Pinnacles Restaurant (Ngā Tohu) boasts breathtaking views with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the Pinnacles and the valley below. New buffet breakfast and dining is offered along with an afternoon tea option. The Pinnacles Restaurant opens Saturday, July 6.

PƒÅtaka (The Larder) offers fantastic barista coffee and an incredible à la carte menu offering classic New Zealand café style cuisine. The Larder also opens today.

Four Peaks Alley has a selection of tasty dishes for the perfect grab-and-go meal Foodtruck style. It is located in a brand new refurbished downstairs area of the Chalet that was previously staff rooms and maintenance areas. Four Peaks Alley opens today serving sushi, drinks and coffee. Daily changing menu commences July 6.

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