Ral Knoll Ridge Cafe

Sitting innocently above the clouds on the slopes of Whakapapa, the Café is now part of New Zealand’s prime heritage, but this was yet another tough project the Stanley team has conquered. It called for extraordinary dedication and demands on the entire team to make it happen within the tight timeframe.

the Café is now part of New Zealand’s prime




Located 2000m above sea level, the construction process in this harsh remote environment called for a different approach.

More than $1m was saved by adopting clever building solutions including using alternative machines for the erection process as there is no crane access, transporting 400 vertical metres of precast units up over the snow and using the helicopter as a crane and delivery method.

The weather on Ruapehu is notoriously unpredictable so extensive planning and logistical programming was required as the windows of opportunity to fly helicopter loads were limited and very costly.

Stanley’s precast 90% of the concrete structure offsite in Matamata, along with as many building components as possible. This minimised disruption to the skifield and mitigated environmental risk – an important factor when building in a World Heritage Park.



Glass was procured off shore, passing on significant cost savings to the client.



By adopting some clever solutions, there was significant time and monetary savings as well as the benefit of the cafe opening for the second half of the ski season as planned

Project Details

Contract Range:
$6 - $7M

Contract Type:
Design & Build


23 weeks

Completion Date:
June 2010

Stanley Project Manager:
Richard Hopkins

Principal’s Project Manager:
Ian Smith - ISPS

Grant Harris

Structural Engineer:
Dunning Thornton