Ohakune is well regarded as a winter destination within New Zealand. It is at the base of Ruapehu mountain and is known as the ski capital of the North Island. Winters are the busy season for Ohakune, attracting skiers from all over New Zealand, Australia and beyond. The town makes a delightful stopover in the summertime too, when visitors are fewer and the walks and hikes around town are inviting.
The town is divided into two parts. The “upper” part, also called the Junction, is around the train station and its vicinity. It is home to a number of lodges, inns and cafes, and is also closest to Tongariro National Park. The lower part of town is larger and contains shops, restaurants, an i center, as well as a riverside park.
Ohakune is on State Highway 49.
- Main article: Rail travel in New Zealand
Tranzscenic has trains three times per week from Auckland or Wellington. The train station is within easy walking distance to lodges and hotels in the upper part of the town.
You can walk from the upper to the lower part of town in a 45 minutes or so. During the winter, a bus service runs every half hour until the bars close. Other car and taxi services are available during the winter months. Ask at your lodge.
While you can walk along the sidewalks to get from one part of town to another, for better views take scenic walkway along the riverside also connects the two. From the upper part of town, cross the river over the old bridge, then walk 100 meters or so to the trail opening on the left side of Old River Road. Enjoy the swinging pedestrian bridge.
- 1 The World’s Largest Carrot. A 7.5m tall model carrot, originally used in an advert for a bank, then donated to Ohakune in 1984. (updated Nov 2015)
- Ruapehu Mountain. (updated Nov 2015)
- 1 Ohakune Railway Museum, 52 Thames Street (near the station). Thu – Sun 10AM – 2PM. A small volunteer run exhibition, with a slightly random collection of railway equipment and a display on the Tangiwai Disaster (a nearby railway bridge collapsed in 1953 killing 151). donation. (updated Dec 2015)
- 1 National Army Museum, State Highway 1, Waiouru 4861 (about 30km east of Ohakune.), ☎+64 06 387 6911. Daily 9am to 4.30pm. $15.00.