Ohakune or the “Carrot Capital of New Zealand” is a popular spot for those doing the Tongariro alpine crossing, the Mountains to Sea cycle trail or, you might simply fit into my category, you think you can do the Tongariro crossing but can’t, so you’ll say yes to an adventurous road trip to see snow and wing it, walking the 19km across Tongariro. Ohakune is also known for its easy access to snow sports, trout fishing, mountain biking, tramping and bush walking.
A scenic drive toward Ohakune will take you through the tiny settlement of Erua and past historic Horopito. Housing the start point for the Ohakune Old Coach Road, it’s also home to the vintage car museum that starred in the New Zealand classic movie of the same name: ‘Smash Palace’ and more recently in the 2016 blockbuster ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople.’ Ohakune is also close to New Zealand’s famous Mount Ruapehu, the Chateau Tongariro Hotel and army town, Waiouru.
As you take a scenic drive out of Ohakune and head towards the Chateau Tongariro Hotel you’ll start to see more snow and amazing scenery of snowy mountains in the distance (did someone say selfie?).
Unfortunately, because of fog, the Tongariro crossing was a no go, but instead, we biked Fishers track in Ruapehu. This track, which leaves from National Park is often missed by visitors and is an excellent ride for the beginner to intermediate mountain biker. Leaving National Park from the northwest corner of town, you’ll follow the Fishers Road signpost and the gravel road will eventually turn into a 4WD track as it heads into thick native forest. Another Instagram worthy adventure.
Map here to see how long it’ll take you to get to Ohakune.