The campsites and cabins are nestled in pretty beech forest about 100 metres up the road from the fabulous Tongariro National Park visitor centre at Whakapapa. There are no views of the mountains but the beech forest is very pretty and a lovely fast flowing stream rushes down the southwest side of the site and can be accessed from a couple of short tracks (ie. 20 metres). A walk back out to the office reveals a view of Mt Ruapehu up the road and Mt Ngauruhoe can be seen by walking 300 metres down the road by the Chateau Hotel.
I received a nice welcome from a very friendly lady at the office then checked into my cabin for three nights. My intention was to do some varied day hikes but return to the comfort of a cabin for the night.
The kitchen and amenities blocks were very clean, well maintained and had everything you would expect from several 6 slice toasters, microwaves, stoves, fridges, internet, TV, etc.
Cell phones work just fine here too. If you did not feel like cooking, the Chateau Hotel has two restaurants - the Ruapehu Room which is quite expensive but nice and the Pihanga Cafe which is very reasonably priced and highly recommended. The Skotel has a restaurant and good value meals can be had from the pub (Tussock Bar). None of these are more than 300 metres away.
Cabins 1-3 have 4 single bunk beds and a double bed up in a mezzanine area. The rooms are carpeted, have a heater, table and 4 chairs, lighting and are just fine for a basic cabin.
I really like this place and will be returning.