Ohakune Activities and Attractions
Camelbac Ruapehu Express MTB, Trail Run / Walk Event - 22 February 2020
Offlimits Tussock Buster - 27/29 April 2020
Raetihi Gut Buster - Road Cycle & Fun Run - 12 April 2020
Ohakune Mardigras - June 2020
Winter Gut Buster - July
Peak To Powderkeg - October
The Goat Adventure Run - December
The Big Kid Run - December
Ohakune Township and Facilities
Shopping and Services
For its size, Ohakune is surprisingly well equipped and local providers can offer everything from refuelling to relaxing, restocking to restyling.
Basic facilities include New World supermarket, an iSite visitor information centre, banks, Post Shop, Ohakune Pharmacy, plenty of parking and well maintained public toilets.
Other services on offer include a gym, a local swimming pool, medical practice (in Raetihi), dentist (visiting), a library, hairdressers, a massage salon, a gas station and much more.
A great selection of shops sell everything from the essentials to those little luxuries as well as souvenirs. Local artisans also have their crafts on sale at several of the stores.
Dining and Entertainment
Given Ohakune's size, the selection of bars and restaurants is fantastic. Laid back boutique cafes, stylish bars, convenient takeaways and gourmet dining can all be found within a short walk of each other.
If you are looking for something special, romantic restaurants and a la carte dining experiences are right on your doorstep.
During the winter months 'The Junction' end of Ohakune comes to life with a great range of places to eat and drink.
The Mountain Rocks Cafe & Bar, 53 Clyde Street, Ohakune Phone: (06) 385 8295
Utopia Café, 47 Clyde Street, Ohakune (06) 385 9120
Industry Restaurant, 55 Clyde St, Ohakune Phone: (06) 3859 006
Osteria Italian Restaurant, Clyde St, Ohakune Phone (06) 3859 183
Cypress Tree, corner Miro and Clyde Street, Ohakune Phone: (06) 3858 857
The Mountain Rocks Cafe & Bar 53 Clyde Street, Ohakune Phone: (06) 3858 295
Powderhorn Chateau 194 Mangawhero Tce (Bottom of Mountain Road), Ohakune, Ph (06) 385 8888
The Blind Finch, Hamburgeria, 29 Goldfinch Street, Phone 0800-Eat- Burgers
The Blind Finch, Hamburgeria, 29 Goldfinch Street, Phone 0800-Eat- Burgers
Mountain Kebabs, 29 Clyde Street, Ohakune (06) 385 9047
Indian Affair, Clyde Street, Ohakune (06) 385 8619
Captain Kune Takeaways, Clyde Street, Ohakune (06) 385 8825
Vertigo Climbing Centre cnr Goldfinch and Ayr Streets, Ohakune, Phone: (06) 385 8018
Gym at 18 Ayr Street, Ohakune, Phone: (06) 385 9393 (Gym equipment, Pilates, Total Body Classes, Yoga).
Squash at Ruapehu College, 30 Tainui Street, Ohakune Phone: (06) 385 8855
Thermal Pools can be found in the town of Tokaanu, 1 hours' drive north of Ohakune. With a large public pool, 12 private pools, a kids' pool, trout feeding and a thermal bush walk there is plenty here for the whole family.
Art, Culture, Heritage and Museums
National Army Museum
Location: Waiouru, 20 minutes' drive from Ohakune
Opening hours: 09:00-16:30 daily
From humble beginnings in 1964, what was once one of several small scattered collections of military memorabilia has now developed into the national monument to New Zealand's armed forces. Born of General Ronald Hassett's 'Operation Heritage' to construct a fitting tribute to the nation's military heritage he museum was built with the help of Army Engineers and team of volunteers in just 276 days!
Current exhibits include:
- An extensive collection of restored military vehicles and weaponry
- The 'Tears on Greenstone' war memorial to those killed in action from New Zealand's three armed services and Merchant Marine
- Photographs and memorabilia
Phone: 06 3876911, Email: email@example.com
The Railway Museum
Location: The Junction, Ohakune
Much of Ohakune's rich history revolves around the railway. 'The Junction' area of the township, which is popular in the winter season for its après ski, was the original hub of the settlement serving the engineers, labourers and early passengers of the railway. Several of the buildings in this part of town date back to the construction of the tracks in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
At the side of these all-important tracks sits the Railway Museum, a converted 1930s railway shed that was re-located to Ohakune in 1990 and is now home to a selection of fascinating displays on the history of the railway and settlement in the region.
Current exhibits include:
- A moving exhibition on the Tangiwai Train Disaster of Christmas Eve 1953, New Zealand's worst ever rail disaster – well worth a viewing
- The history and future of the North Island Main Trunk 1870-2013
- Raurimu Spiral and Main Trunk Milestones
- Railway Control Units (Post War)
- Semaphore Signals, early railway workers' cabin, tools and historic photos
- The museum is within walking distance of most accommodation in Ohakune.
Opening Hours: Fri,Sat Sun 11-3pm and public holidays. Other days by arrangement. Ph: Helen Gordon (021) 1119692
Location: Raetihi, 15 minutes' drive from Ohakune
Opening hours: Sundays 14:00-16:00
Entry fees: Donations appreciated
Based in the relocated historic Raethihi railway station with additional exhibition space provided in former stables and jail cells (complete with heavy doors, bolts and prisoner viewing windows), the Waimarino Museum is home to an interesting collection focussing on the history of the Central Plateau from the early Māori settlers, through the time of the prosperous timber industry up until the present day.
Horopito Motors (Smash Palace)
Location: Horopito, 10 minutes' drive from Ohakune
Opening hours: 11:00-15:00 daily
Entry fees: Gold Coin Donation.
In 1981 the New Zealand movie 'Smash Palace' rose to international acclaim. Horopito Motors was the location for the garage scenes in the movie and just driving past it is easy to see why. Bill Cole established his motor garage in the town in the mid-1940s and today it remains as one of the most unique car collections in the world. With a philosophy of scrapping nothing, Bill Cole and his family have built up the 15 acres of vehicles over 60 years and today the collection includes rare Bedford, Austin, Singer and Chrysler models amongst others.
This is not a place to go and appreciate vintage cars in superb condition. It is what it is: a wrecker's yard with a vast assortment of vehicles in varying states of decay. But this absolutely fascinating collection is well worth a visit for anyone with an interest in automotive history.
Horopito Motors is still a working garage but for a small donation you can wander around the yards at your leisure.
The Last Spike Monument
Location: SH4, 3km north of Pokako, 15 minutes' drive north from Ohakune
Opening hours: Daily
Entry fees: Free
At the side of State Highway 4 sits a monument to the completion of the North Island Main Trunk Railway line. The monument marks the sport where, in 1908, Prime Minister Sir Joseph Ward drove the last spike into the track. The monument is accessible at all times.
Location: Tangiwai, 13 minutes' drive from Ohakune
Opening hours: Daily
Entry fees: Free
This poignant memorial was erected for the victims of the Tangiwai rail disaster. New Zealand's worst ever rail disaster occurred on Christmas Eve 1953 when the Wellington-Auckland express train plunged into the Whangaehu River following the destruction of the bridge by a lahar. The memorial bears the registration plate of engine Ka949 and stands alongside the replacement bridge with Mount Ruapehu, from which the lahar flowed, in the distance.
Along the road you can see the gates that are part of the early warning system that came about as a result of this tragedy.
Skiing / Snowboarding
Mount Ruapehu is home to the North Island's ski fields and Ohakune is the number one location in which to base yourself to experience the slopes. The superb views and runs to suit all abilities are enough in themselves, but the opportunity to ski a live volcano is one that few can pass up!
The annual Mardi Gras festival, the official opening celebration of the Ruapehu winter ski season, is the highlight of Ohakune's winter calendar, mixing big name Kiwi bands with snow, pyrotechnics and an electric atmosphere!
There is a reason Ohakune has a reputation as the après ski capital of the North Island – it is absolutely the place to be when the lifts close, with a fantastic selection of restaurants and bars plus live entertainment during the winter season.
Mount Ruapehu's two main ski fields are Whakapapa on the northern slopes and Turoa situated on the southern slopes overlooking Ohakune. RAL operates both fields meaning ski passes can be used on either side of the mountain.
Ski / board hire in Ohakune is made easy with outlets throughout the main town area and in the Junction.
Local shuttle companies operate regular shuttles up the Ohakune Mountain Road to Turoa Ski Field and around to Whakapapa ski field when Turoa is closed.
Turoa Ski field
In a spectacular setting high on Ruapehu's south-western slopes, the Turoa ski field is New Zealand's highest and also boasts Australasia's longest continuous run. The 1300 acres of groomed trails are accessed by a network of 11 lifts including the 6 seater 'Express'.
With beginner slopes, 12 mainly linking intermediate runs and 25 black and black diamond runs the Turoa field caters beautifully for all levels of skier. These slopes also feature some fantastic natural half pipes and off piste areas for the more adventurous skiers.
The field is easily accessible in just 20 minutes via the 17km Ohakune Mountain Road and frequent ski shuttle buses operate during the winter season.
Whakapapa Ski field
New Zealand's largest ski field is located on Mount Ruapehu's north-western slopes and features 65 trails including 30 excellent intermediate runs and 24 black and black diamond runs with plenty of interesting natural features including chutes and bowls. Whakapapa is also home to New Zealand's premiere dedicated beginner area, Happy Valley.
Whakapapa is also the location for the annual Extreme Competition which sees international competitors descend upon the slopes to conquer the challenging volcanic terrain.
Whakapapa ski field is 45 minutes' drive from Ohakune and regular ski shuttle buses operate during the winter season.
Tukino Club Field
The Tukino skifield is Mt Ruapehu's lesser-known gem, located on the eastern side of the mountain (35km from Waiouru). Tukino, is a club ski field, operated and maintained by club members.
Tukino Ski Field offers the rare combination of adventure and lack of crowds, coupled with the friendliness and camaraderie that's only found on club-operated fields.
The Tukino Skifield is open to the public and visitors are most welcome to visit Tukino to ski, board or just play around in the snow.
You need a 4WD vehicle to get to the Tukino skifield. Be prepared to fit chains if advised to on the Tukino Skifield road status report.
Checkout the CAT SKIING, offering 500 vertical metres per run of untracked sun-facing open bowls and ridges.
Hiking / Bushwalking
Perfectly positioned at the southern gateway to the dual World Heritage Tongariro National Park and just a short drive from huge selection of tracks and trails, Ohakune's facilities and services are geared towards outdoor activities and the wealth of local knowledge can only serve to enhance your experience.
Waitonga Falls Track
11kms out of Ohakune up the Ohakune Mountain Road sits this gem of a track for all levels of fitness with a return journey of just over 4kms. The 39 metre Waitonga Falls is Tongariro National Park's highest waterfall. The well-formed track passes through mountain beech and kaikawaka forest and stunning views of Mount Ruapehu are enjoyed whilst walking along the alpine walkway. There are some steps to master coming back up from the waterfall but its well worth the effort. Go to Department of Conservation for full details.
Winding through dense native forest on the lower slopes of Mount Ruapehu, the well maintained Mangawhero forest walk is an absolute must do for nature lovers. A short distance from town, the entrance to the track is easily accessible from the car park at the base of the mountain road. The track is a near loop, heading uphill at first for 1.5km to a campground clearing suitable for picnics, then over the Mangawhero river bridge to gently stroll back down through the bush on the opposite side of the mountain road. For a full look at the Ohakune circuit, you can connect up with the northern end of the Mangawhero river walk, then follow the Jubilee Walkway, linking the three trails all the way from mountain to township. Cutting away at the base of the Mangawhero Forest walk, the Rimu Walkway is a beautiful 15 minute side loop suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
15km up the Ohakune Mountain Road begins a 5 hour backcountry hike across volcanic alpine terrain, to a broad, shallow lake set amongst beech forest and tussock. Waterfalls and bluffs complement the backdrop of Mount Ruapehu along the journey, which after a period of open rocky country, descends into Mangaturuturu Valley beside a beautiful cascade flowing over smooth bedrock (caution: can be slippery in wet or icy conditions).
See links below for information on various walks:
Starting just below the Whakapapa Visitor Centre at Whakapapa Village this popular 2 hour return loop track is a relatively easy hike. The Taranaki Falls are located around half way and cascade over the edge if an impressive 15,000 year old laval flow.
Starting at the DOC Visitor Centre in Whakapapa Village this 7km return varied walking track travels through mountain beech forest alongside a cascading stream, arriving at the Silica Rapids. You will see a range of vegetation along the track, and on a clear day offers spectacular views of Mount Ruapehu and Mount Ngauruhoe.
Whakapapa Nature Walk
Family friendly 15 minute sealed loop track which gives a glimpse of the unique flora of Tongariro National Park. A series of on-site information panels explain the various vegetation zones in the park.
Tawhai Falls Walk
Family friendly 20 minute return walk to impressive falls, which tumble over the edge of an ancient lava flow, are reached after a short stroll through mountain toatoa and beech forest.
A spectacular rocky outcrop which was one of the filming locations for Lord of the Rings. Meads Wall drops off steeply and care is required whilst standing at the edge to enjoy spectacular views of the valley below and Ngauruhoe to the northeast.
Other Whakapapa walks:
Ridge Walking track
Meads wall route
Whakapapaiti Valley track
Tama Lakes track
Mt Ruapehu Summer Magic
The Guided Crater Lake Hike and Cultural Experience
Experience a spectacular journey to the pristine Crater Lake near the highest point in the North Island. You will be hosted and entertained by local Ngati Hikairo Cultural Guides along with our own Safety & Mountaineering Guides. Venture through rugged volcanic terrain and learn about the geological and cultural significance of Mt Ruapehu, the Tongariro National Park and New Zealand's first Dual World Heritage Site.
New Zealand's highest café
Have lunch and enjoy the breathtaking views from the Knoll Ridge Chalet. A scenic chairlift ride will transport you to the architecturally acclaimed Knoll Ridge Chalet 2020 metres above sea level. The Chalet was constructed in 2011 and replaces the original Knoll Ridge Chalet which was destroyed by a fire in February 2009.
Join us at Mt Ruapehu on our Volcanic Short Walks. There are a variety of walks suitable for a range of abilities, with great photo opportunities of the Tongariro National Park. These free walks are a must-do!
Scenic Chairlift rides
Ride two chairlifts over stunning volcanic terrain and ancient lava flows to an altitude of 2020 meters above sea level. Lifts operate 9.am - 3.30pm daily (weather conditions permitting) except Christmas Day.
How to get here
A 6km scenic drive on a sealed road suitable for campervans.
Freecall: 0508 RUAPEHU(782 734)
More at: http://www.mtruapehu.com/summer/#sthash.xN0B32fC.dpuf
Ohakune is fast becoming one of the North Island's premier cycling destinations with fantastic trails ranging from easy 15 minute riverside tracks to 5 day cross-terrain expeditions. Home of the Ohakune Old Coach Road and the starting point for the Mountains to Sea cycle trail.
Bikes can be hired from several operators in Ohakune. These companies can also transport you to trail heads and provide maps of the routes to help you on the way.
TCB Ski, Board Bike, 27 Ayr Street Ohakune (06) 385 8433
Bridge to Nowhere
An Iconic trail of approximately 38km from Ruatiti Road to the Whanganui River. It forms part of the National "Mountain to Sea" cycleway, upgraded in 2010. The "Maungapurua Road" turnoff is 30.6km from SH4 along the Ruatiti Road (14km past Ruatiti Domain). For the most part the track generally follows the Maungapurua Stream – a valley rich in history. In 1917 the Government opened up the valley for returned WWI servicemen. About 15 holdings were developed. Due to economic and financial hardship settlers soon abandoned the area, which was officially closed in May 1942, after three remaining families were ordered out. The present "Bridge to Nowhere" near the Whanganui River was started in 1935. Bikers can return by the same route or take a jetboat and/or canoe to Pipiriki (20km) or stop over at the river lodge (11km). More route detail and description is in other publications eg. Kennetts' Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Rides
Rangataua Road is an old metal forest road of approximately 12km, located via Karioi Station Road off SH 49) that winds through the picturesque Rangataua Forest on the lower the slopes of Mt Ruapehu. The suggested route is shown on the Ohakune Scenic Trail Loop Map – travel the 4.6km North Track from point J to G returning to Rangataua via Middle Track and the metal track alongside the railway. Both these tracks are single bike trails. West and Middle Track have other users and may be in poor condition when wet.
Enter via Kapoors Road (18km north of National Park), continue 6.4km to carpark, DoC directional sign and start of track. The track should be well marked with dark green posts before and after most major intersections. Considered one of the best mountain bike rides in North Island, it follows old logging tracks through some of the most remote land in New Zealand in State Forest 42 in the Tongariro Forest.
There are challenging downhills and muscle testing uphills, through lush native forest with sweeping views of the central North Island mountains eg. Echo Point.
Highlights include the stunning Canyon Valley, several river crossings and a pub at the end. It is around 46 kilometres with overall descent of 520m and takes 4-6 hours. Be prepared and equipped for rapid changeable weather. Obtain further route detail and description from other publications eg. Kennetts' Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Rides
Mountain to the Sea Trail
Ruapehu mountain biking has received a huge boost in recent years with the development of the Nga Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trail. Part of this network of tracks is the Mountain to Sea Trails. The Mountain to the Sea Trail includes the Ohakune Mountain Road, the Ohakune Old Coach Road, Fishers Track, Oio Road to Whakahoro, and the Mangapurua Valley.
A very pleasant 1-2 hour walk around a man-made lake (the lower lake) and a crater lake in a DOC Ecological Reserve 1.3km from Karioi Railway Stop. A delightful lunch stop with picnic benches at the first lake.
A mix of a partially-formed paper road and a metal road through typical New Zealand sheep and beef farms and market gardening land, with magnificent views of Mt Ruapehu and Ohakune area. After leaving Lakes Road enter the unformed Ratamarie Road where you go through a typical New Zealand farm (please close gates and respect stock) with great views before finishing on a steepish slope on the metal road.
A pleasant loop road around a lake through picturesque native forest in a DoC reserve a few kilometres out of Ohakune.
Ohakune Old Coach Road
A new nationally-recognised track rich in history and beauty, to the 1908 built Hapuawhenua Viaduct, with an extension to Horopito opened in 2010 as part of the "Mountain to Sea" cycleway. The Old Coach Roadis a cobblestone road built to take rail passengers across the gap from the southern railhead at Ohakune to the northern railhead at Raurimu, while the last section of Main Trunk Line was completed.
Ohakune Mountain Road
A testing 16.1km (1000m vertical) climb uphill through various alpine landscapes, starting at the DOC Ranger Station. The Ohakune Mountain Road is the start of the National "Mountain to Sea" cycleway. All sealed road, be prepared for changeable weather conditions.
Erua Forest Trail
Located 2.8km along Middle Road from SH 4. A very pleasant ride along an old construction road through native bush of the DoC Conservation Reserve. The track is to the first pylon, there are many other single tracks between pylons to explore.
Starting from the SH4, travel to edge of Plateau and then a 3.4km steep descent down Shorts Hill before following the Orautoha Stream and then the Maunganui-a-te-o River to the Ruatiti Domain where there is a Camping ground, excellent swimming and trout fishing in a delightful riverside setting. Follow road signs to Ruatiti Domain.
Tongariro Forest Loop
For experienced riders who like a challenge. You will encounter every type of riding imaginable on this trip. More information is available in Kennetts' Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Rides.
Incorporating 4.7km of the 42 Traverse, two single tracks (approximately 800m in poor condition) linking to Pukehinau Road. Can be done as a loop, or in parts.
A real buss track of 17km, 95% downhill with a 520m descent. Join metal roads and travel to Monument Corner pick up point. To become part of the national Mountain to Sea cycleway.
Opposite the Old Waikune Prison, 3km south of National Park, is a seal road that leads to an old mill site, through an old forestry area that used to be milled by the prison. Park in Old Mill site. All tracks lead back to site. For best enjoyment, obtain a plan of the tracks. About 13km have recently been opened. Good for the family.
Erua Road and Side Trails/Cuff Road
Grade 2 and 3
Erua and Cuff Road are metalled, through some fascinating and beautiful ecological and forest areas with spectacular views. They are old construction tracks in mixed state – for the adventurous.
A demanding uphill and/or a buzz downhill including the Bruce Road to the Whakapapa Ski Area.
Ruapehu Golf Club
Just 5 minutes' drive from Ohakune sits the Waimarino Golf Club, a championship 18 hole par 71 course with great views and good year round ground conditions. Recent improvements to the course have earned it a 71.9 NZGA rating and, combined with the peaceful setting and native bush surroundings, this is an excellent course for all ability levels. Try the course in winter with the backdrop of the snow clad mountain, it's the perfect alternative if the slopes are closed.
Taihape Golf Club
At 40 minutes from Ohakune, Taihape Golf Club is worth the drive for its challenging 18 hole course including a river crossing and reportedly one of the best par 3 holes around. There are no bunkers to get stuck in and the attractive course welcomes visitors.
Taumaranui Golf Club
Also known as 'Tarrangower', this course dates back to the 1920s and for this reason it is one of the best established courses in the region. The park-like fairways are lined with giant Redwoods and the undulating greens are perfect for all ability levels. The Clubhouse is a bonus with fantastic views over the course. Tarrangower is an hour's drive from Ohakune but the superb conditions of the course amply reward those who make the journey.
The great variety of activity rivers in the Ruapehu region which offer everything from peaceful canoe treks to white water rafting. Paddle along the Tongariro River, kayak through the rocky boulder chutes of the Whanganui River and take in the stunning scenery of the Whanganui National Park or take a raft along the Grade 5 rapids of the Rangitikei River.
The unforgettable Whanganui River Journey is part of the New Zealand Great Walks network. With a length of 290km, it is New Zealand's longest navigable river.
Beginning on the slopes of the active Mount Tongariro on the Central Plateau, it flows to Taumarunui. From there it flows south west through the farming hills of the King Country, then on into the forests of the Whanganui National Park, past such historic river settlements as Pipiriki and Jerusalem.
In times gone by, the river was the only transport route through these dense forests, first for waka and later for steam driven boats. As a result, Whanganui iwi have a deep connection with their river.
You can journey through this otherwise remote area by jet boat, multi day canoe or kayak trip down the Whanganui river, experiencing its scenic beauty, history and cultural significance.
The 145km journey from Taumarunui to Pipiriki takes an average of 5 days to complete by canoe. A shorter, 3 day journey from Whakahoro to Pipiriki (87 km) is the more popular option, featuring the most scenic stretches of the river. Several canoe operators offer both guided and freedom rentals for the more experienced paddlers. Daily shuttles depart from Ohakune to the Taumarunui, Whakahoro and Pipiriki, making for a hassle free trip.
Time of year:
Due to the mountainous nature of the Whanganui National park, trips in the park are best enjoyed between spring – autumn although some operators may run trips outside this period.
Operated by Yeti Tours
Ph 0800 32 23 88
Yeti offer guided tours daily ranging from 2 to 10 days. The Yeti guides take great pleasure in producing the seemingly impossible from a camp cooker and fire and their menu for each trip will be full of delicious surprises.
All tours include transport to and from their meeting place, qualified guides, Department of conservation facility user passes, all meals, canoes/kayaked with all gear and waterproof storage containers.
They also offer freedom hire for those wishing to do their own thing.
Operated by Adventure Kayak Tours
Ph 07 8922 778
Half day white water kayak experiences depart daily from National Park Village at 8am.
Enjoy the thrill and beauty of the Whakapapa river. The scenery is stunning. Pristine forest with crystal clear mountain water. Be in control of your own boat or join a guides boat if you wish.
A family run business established in 1991 RNZ prides itself on its fun, friendly award winning service and impeccable safety record. With an "all Kiwi" professional guide team, the best raft base facilities, combined with awesome white water rivers – a rafting adventure with RNZ is not to be missed.
RNZ offer family fun (grade 2) trips for families with young children (3yrs +) to full day trips on grade 5 rivers and plenty in between.
Safety gear provided, all you need to bring is your swim suit and towel.
Turangi is the base for the Tongariro River Rafting trips.
Operated by Rafting New Zealand.
Based in Turangi Ph 0800 VOLCANO
Also operated by Tongariro River Rafting.
Ph 0800 10 10 24
Based in Turangi and offer grade 2 and 3 experiences on the Tongariro river. Free hot soup and hot pools when you raft with TRR.
Ruapehu rivers provide very productive fly fishing, perhaps because the run off from the snow and glaciers of Mt Ruapehu creates fast running rivers with such crystal clear waters.
Local fly fisherman Bob heartily concurs - "As good, if not better than the Tongariro River" he says, having caught 6 good sized trout in 2 hours the day before.
The Manganui O Te Ao. Commonly considered to be the best in the region, the Manganui O Te Ao draws anglers from far and wide. It is rated as 1 of 9 nationally important North Island fisheries, being of outstanding scenic and recreational value. Rising on the western slopes of Mt Ruapehu, it meets the Whanganui River 13km above Pipiriki.
The river's pure water, abundant insect life, good boulder cover, deep pools and overhanging bush all contribute to produce both brown and rainbow trout of impressive sizes, from 1.5kg to over 3.5kg. The river also supports rare blue duck (whio) which attract birders from around the world.
There is a variety of water to fish from – pools, runs and rapids. All fishing methods are popular.
Access is for 15km through the scenic Ruatiti Valley via Ruatiti Road: Makakahi, Ruatiti and Pukekaha Rds branch to the lower, middle and upper reaches of the river. River access and a free camping ground can be found at the Ruatiti Domain, where there is also a large sign showing the various property boundaries. Permission must be sought to cross private land, (see also attached map.) Note that cellphone coverage in the Ruatiti Valley is limited so ring before you get there.
The Mangawhero River rises high on Mt Ruapehu in the forests of the Tongariro National Park. It hurtles down the mountain to Ohakune then onwards for 70km. The upper Mangawhero contains mostly brown trout, now naturally bred and wild. While the average is 1.5kg, there are much larger fish to be had in the less accessible places.
Once the river leaves the Tongariro National Park it is much more accessible, for about 10kms through gently descending farmland until it leaves the Central Plateau.
Access to the upper river is from Burns St, Old Mangarewa Rd, Raetithi–Ohakune Road (golf course bridge – Bridge 401) and from Pakihi Rd.
Note: Mangawhero river closes for the spawning season above the golf course bridge. Below that is open all year.
Food in the early season consists of cased caddis, progressing to various species of mayfly nymphs until Dec, when the fish gorge on brown and green beetle. As on most of the Central Plateau rivers, aquatic insects emerge at or just before dusk, so the evening rise will give best results. The exception to this is the December beetle feast when fish can be seen rising at all times.
Tokiahuru and Waitaki Streams. Start in the Karioi Forest on Mt Ruapehu's southern slopes.
Taonui Stream: Spring fed stream rises between Ohakune and Horopito, total length 8km. Brown trout,averaging 2kg. Access from SH49A, Tohunga Rd and Old Mangarewa Rd near the confluence of Toanui and Mangawhero. All fishing methods effective.
Lahar Lake, Horopito: Rainbow trout of up to 2kgs. Open all year for fishing. Off SH 4 at Matapuna Rd, past Smash Palace and follow gravel road for 2 kms until the Lahar Farm sign, turn right and drive up to Lahar Farm.
Raetihi Hydro Dam – also a wildlife sanctuary. Brown and rainbow trout 1-2.5kgs. 2km down Ruatiti Rd, turn right onto middle Rd. About 750m turn left onto a track, there is parking for only 1-2 vehicles.
For further advice ask your accommodation provider.
The Department of Conservation maintains a selection of hunting grounds around the Ruapehu and Tongariro regions including Tongariro National Park, Whanganui National Park, Kaimanawa Forest Park, Erua Forest and Lake Taupo Lakeshore Reserve. Many of these are less than an hour's drive from Ohakune and the high number of logging tracks in the area make this one of the most accessible regions for landing large trophy animals in the North Island.
Tongariro National Park and Rangataua Forest offers great hunting primarily for Red Deer with localised Sika populations. There is also limited pig hunting.
Herds of wild deer, pigs and goats can be found across the region and the Kaimanawa Forest Park is home to the only wild herd of sika deer in the southern hemisphere. Ducks and geese can be found concentrated around the Waimarino area and pheasant and quail can be found in the coastal areas around Whanganui, around an hour and a half from Ohakune.
A permit is required by anyone using a rifle or bow to hunt on land managed by the Department of Conservation. Permits are free and can be obtained online or from the Department of Conservation's Taupo-nui-a-Tia or Ruapehu area offices. For the restricted areas of Opepe Scenic and Historic Reserves, Pukepoto Ecological Area and Waituhi/Kuratau Scenic Reserve permits must be obtained from the area offices as these are not available online. Hunters are allowed to take hunting dogs (under permit) into selected reserves but must observe DOC rules. Details of permits and regulations as well as more information on hunting in the Ohakune region can be found on the DOC website.
Take in the Ohakune district at a slower pace on horseback. Several local providers offer tours from 1 hour to multiple days so there is something for everyone from absolute beginners to accomplished riders.
Take a ride through Rangataua Forest or journey into the hills above Waiouru and experience the landscape as the early pioneers would have done.
Ruapehu Homestead Horsetreks offer fun for everyone. From adopt a pony experience for the youngest through to back country trail rides and children's learn to ride packages they have a ride to fit your needs. Great horses, great guides, great country make for a memorable, rewarding and enjoyable experience.
Ruapehu Homestead is just 4km east of Ohakune on SH 49. Horse Treks Start From the Corner of Piwari Street and SH49, at Rangataua, Ohakune.
Bookings Ph 027 267 7057
Ruapehu Adventure Rides offer guided rides on either quad bikes or L U V buggies. Rides range from half an hour for a good effortless ride to see the Raurimu Spiral through to full day rides in beautiful native bush with treat views of the rivers and mountains.
Scenic Flights and Charters
Experience the breathtaking views of New Zealand's oldest National Park and Dual World Heritage Site with a scenic flight over the dramatic volcanic landscape of the central plateau.
Fly over the Ruapehu and Tongariro craters, see the sparkling waters of remote alpine lakes and get a bird's eye view of some of the key filming locations from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Several operators in the Ohakune region offer pleasure flights from 30 minutes to an hour in length by either helicopter or light aircraft. Other tours are available by charter. Contact providers directly for details and pricing.
Flights depart from either Ohakune Airstrip in Ohakune, or Chateau Airport in Whakapapa.
You will find Mountain Air on State Highway 47, Opposite the Whakapapa turn off, Mount Ruapehu.
Ph 0800 922 812
The Ruapehu helicopter base is located at the Raetihi Airfield on State Highway 4 and operated by Ravensdown Aeroworks Ltd.
7304 State Highway 4
The Raetihi Airfield is approx 3km from the Tohunga Junction, on the right hand side, opposite Wilcox & Sons. The drive from Ohakune will take you approx 10 minutes.
Scenic flights are by prior booking only - no walkins please.
Steve Ashcroft +64 21 800 783
Bungy, Fox, Swing, Hydrolift at Gravity Canyon
New Zealand's highest bridge bungy and New Zealand's highest tandem bungy, from 80 metres there's no turning back 3,2,1 and you're gone. After your jump there is no walking involved getting out of that canyon. The Gravity crew load each jumper onto a water powered chairlift so you can experience the full 80m all over again in reverse and at much slower speed.
The Giant Swing is our newest activity. With 50m of pure free-fall it is sure to get you screaming!
Offering 1.1 Kilometers of high speed exhilaration at 160kp/h (or 100mp/h) and 175 metres above the river is a custom design that is the first one of it's kind in the world! Come try it out and fly like you've always dreamt of!
For those who would still like to experience the natural wonder of the Rangitikei River canyon without the adrenaline involved, take a scenic ride on our water-powered chairlift. This is a New Zealand first, and unique to Mokai Gravity Canyon.
Located at 332 Mokai Road, Taihape, New Zealand. About 45 minutes from Ohakune. Freephone 0800 802 864.Visit Site
5 Tunnel Rail Cart Tour
Enjoy a 32km round trip cruising through stunning hill country farms and native bush.
Experience the start of the Forgotten World Railway. Travel through five tunnels including the line’s longest tunnel (1.5km), and three beautiful hand-built brick tunnels.
Stop for light snack and drink before returning on the line, back through the five tunnels to the start point.
Departs from and returns to Taumarunui.
Call 0800 7245 2278 for details.