Knoll Ridge Café

Tongariro National Park

The Knoll Ridge Café on Whakapapa Ski Area is New Zealand’s highest café. If you’re not skiing or boarding, you can access the Knoll Ridge Café via a brand new $25 million gondola which opens on 1 June, 2019.

At 2020m above sea level, with breathtaking views of the Pinnacles and valley below this award-winning architecturally designed café was awarded the Design Curial Best Designed Café in the World, 2015.

The Architecture

Perched dramatically on a cliff edge and cited on New Zealand’s largest active volcano, the Knoll Ridge Café is an incredible feat of design and engineering! An ambitious design and build was initiated in 2009 to replace the original café which was destroyed by fire earlier in the year.

The project had a unique set of challenges – the harsh remote environment, including winds up to 220kph and temperatures well below freezing, rapidly changing weather, and limited road access meant the project required extensive logistical programming in order to ensure the safe delivery, placement and erection of materials – all performed via helicopter.

The form of the Knoll Ridge cafe building reflects the strong geological features of the mountain. The “gull wing” roof was to appear to “cradle” the mountains peak. On a practical level the roof is used to manage the snow. The building is designed to cover with up to 3m of snow.

The building accommodates café seating for approximately 400 people with servery, kitchen and support facilities all on one level. At this same level, a deck area for approximately 200 people is provided. 

The Café

Combined with excellent barista-made coffee, hearty family favourites as well as gourmet healthy options, and unequalled views, you can easily while away time over a long lunch at Knoll Ridge Café.

Getting to the Knoll Ridge Café

The Knoll Ridge Café is accessible to sightseers via a brand new $25 million gondola which opens on 1 June, 2019.

+64 7 892 4000
Physical address:
Whakapapa Ski Area
Top of Bruce Road
Mt Ruapehu
Tongariro National Park