The skiing is great for all levels at Whakapapa Ski fields. There is a beginners slope for the first and second timers, and more hardcore challenges for those up to it.
And those who prefer snowboarding or would like to try it, lessons are offered on site as well.
If you prefer a quieter outing, just buy a chair lift pass (without skiis) and enjoy the views across Whakapapa. You can take the chair lifts all the way to the top. Remember to bring your camera and keep warm as the temperatures can change quite drastically with the wind chill.
Equipment: Waterproof pants / ski clothes, parka, beanie, waterproof gloves, thermals, muffler. Don't bulk up too much if you're into active sports, as you can get quite hot once you are skiing on the slopes. Ensure that your thermals absorb moisture to keep sweat away from your body, otherwise you could catch a chill.
Most people head for the ski fields of Whakapapa. However, don't forget your golf clubs, as there is a very pleasant golf course in Turangi, 4km from Lake Taupo on its southern side. It is very near the Tongariro National Park.
Golf here is quiet and reasonable in price ($20), as everybody is off skiing. It sometimes snow on the golf course during winter, which makes it quite a different experience.
There is an information centre at Turangi which also offers info on the Tongariro National Park.
Equipment: Golf gear, warm gloves, parka, thermals, golf shoes or runners.