Waikune Prison – Ruapehu

Waikune Prison was minimum security prison opened in 1921. It sits, isolated and alone, on a deserted and overgrown few acres, along a lonely strip of highway, and has been left abandoned and in decay since 1986. This derelict prison camp located in a remote area below a looming Mt Ruapehu, was closed due to lack of funding to upgrade. The inmates worked in various capacities, including doing the laundry for the nearby Grand Chateau Hotel, a ski resort in a World Heritage Park.

An incredible place that we were honoured to have gained permission from the resident caretaker, for access to explore and photo document all the structures in this long forgotten piece of New Zealand history.

Please do not trespass on private properties. Always seek permission before entering any derelict or abandoned locations. Also, be aware of your surroundings and look out for any danger areas or hazards. Always investigate safely.


  1. Dawn

    When I was a kid in the 70’s, when we went on holidays, we always went past this prison either on train or by car. Everytime we went past there was always someone or a team playing rugby on the field there.

  2. Jackie Maru

    Sadly all gone now. My father was a Prison Officer here and we lived in the village. One of the last family living there when the Prison was closed down. I remember some of these buildings from when I was child/teenager. I feel sad when I drive past the site.

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