Ohakune, located in the heart of the Tongariro National Park, Whanganui National Park, and Mt Ruapehu, has some of the best things to do not only in the local area but also on the entire North Island! You’ve probably heard of the Tongariro Crossing, perhaps even the Great Walk on the Whanganui River, and any skier is aware of Mt Ruapehu’s largest ski fields. We’ll walk you through the best things to do in Ohakune, from outdoor adventures to strange sculptures and sweet treats, such as the exploring Whanganui River Journey, Mt Ruapehu ski, and Old Coach Road biking.
The Ruatiti Domain Offers Free Camping
Enjoy the great outdoors of the Ruatiti Domain by escaping to the countryside! This free campsite on the Manganuioteao River, which has a warmer climate than Ohakune, has some great swimming spots, river beaches, and trout fishing (make sure you have a license). In addition, a BBQ area, toilets, and picnic tables are among the camping amenities.
Ohakune is 35 minutes away by car. Take the Ruatiti Road off State Highway 4. The campsite is located just after the road bridge that crosses the river.
Attempt the Tongariro Crossing In Ohakune
Ohakune is close to several of the most popular natural attractions on the North Island, including the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. On a 19.2km (12-mile) hike through volcanic mountains, you’ll see waterfalls, forests, volcanic plateaus, steaming vents, colorful lakes, and much more. It’s a must-do on the North Island. Take on the hike on your own, following the advice in our Guide to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, or join Adrift Tongariro for a fully guided hike.
Mangatepopo Road car park is approximately 54 kilometers (34 miles) from Ohakune. Shuttle services are available there.
Experience the Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail
The Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail officially begins at the top of the Ohakune Mountain Road on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu. Travel from Mt Ruapehu to the end of the Whanganui River on this epic 3-6 day, 217km (135-mile) cycle journey. The trail’s highlights include the Tongariro National Park’s volcanic landscapes, the Whanganui National Park’s remarkable forest, and the Bridge to Nowhere. Besides, mountain bike rental and shuttle operators in town can assist you in planning your adventure. For all of these reasons and more, the Sea Cycle trail is one of the most popular Ohakune activities.
Start at the base of Turoa Ski Field, about a 25-minute drive on the Ohakune Mountain Road.
Great Walk In A Canoe On The Whanganui River Journey In Ohakune
The Whanganui Journey, a New Zealand Great Walk that technically isn’t a walk, is an unforgettable three- to five-day canoe trip down New Zealand’s longest navigable river. Paddle along this breathtakingly beautiful and historically significant river, which features waterfalls, caves, and a Jurassic-like jungle, as well as side trips to the famous Bridge to Nowhere and other attractions. Canoe Safaris, Adrift Tongariro, and Whanganui River Canoes can arrange logistics from Ohakune.
Canoe Safaris is located at 6 Tay Street in the heart of Ohakune. Whanganui River Canoes is located at 10 Parapara Road, Raetihi, about 11 kilometers (7 miles) from the Ohakune town center.
The Mangawhero Forest Track Takes You Deep Into The Ruapehu Forest
The Mangawhero Forest Walk is a beautiful walk easily accessible. So, the one-hour loop walk at the bottom of Ohakune Mountain Road takes you through a majestic stand of mature native forest alongside the Mangawhero River. A short nature walk connected to the trail includes information panels on some of the trees found in the forest.
Start at the bottom of Ohakune Mountain Road, directly across from the Department of Conservation Visitor Centre.
Traverse The Multi-Day Round The Ohakune Mountain Track
Take the Round the Mountain Track for an exciting hike around Mt Ruapehu! This 4-6 day loop track takes you through a variety of magnificent landscapes on Mt Ruapehu’s slopes, including forest, wetlands, volcanic plateau, and more. Therefore, this is an excellent alternative to the more popular Tongariro Northern Circuit Great Walk. The walk can start and finish at Ohakune Mountain Road.
Ohakune is 20 minutes away by car. Follow the Ohakune Mountain Road for 11km (6.8 miles) to a small car park with a signpost to the track.
Ski On Mt Ruapehu
Above all, Ohakune takes pride in being a ski town that comes to life in the winter. The town is situated at the foot of Mt Ruapehu, which is home to two of New Zealand’s most popular ski fields, which are usually open from July to September/October. Turoa is the closest ski field to Ohakune, with New Zealand’s longest vertical drop of 722m (2,369ft), while Whakapapa is the largest ski field in New Zealand.
Take A Look At The Giant Carrot!
You can’t go there without photographing one of the town’s most unusual attractions! The 7.5m (24ft) Ohakune Carrot has been welcoming visitors to the town since 1984, commemorating Ohakune’s position as the producer of two-thirds of the North Island’s carrots! Furthermore, the carrot is supported by the Ohakune Carrot Adventure Park, which includes more large vegetables and a playground for children.
4a Rangataua Road is located on the east side of the town of State Highway 49. Take the Jubilee Walkway or walk along the footpaths past the gas station (see below).
Ride The Old Coach Road
The Old Coach Road cycle trail allows you to walk or ride in the footsteps of the early pioneers. The 15km (9-mile) one-way journey connects Horopito and The Junction end of Ohakune township. The grade 2 trail is appropriate for most abilities and takes approximately 2h20min to complete by bike and 4h30min to complete on foot. Travel through the magnificent forest, discovering railway relics such as viaducts and tunnels along the way.
Matapuna Road, Horopito, about 15 kilometers (9 miles) from Ohakune town center. The Old Coach Road comes to an end at Ohakune Junction.
Explore The Jubilee Walkway
The Jubilee Walk (20 minutes one way) winds through bush and alongside the Mangateitei Stream and is easily accessible from Ohakune’s town center. Besides, the walk between Burns Street and the Ohakune Carrot has several access points.
Start at either the Ohakune Carrot or Burns Street.
Take A Walk To Waitonga And Mangawhero Falls In Ohakune
The 1h20min walk to this cascading waterfall on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu is only an 11km (6.8 miles) drive up the Ohakune Mountain Road. Walk through stunning mountain beech forest, across alpine wetlands with spectacular views of the volcano, and to Tongariro National Park’s tallest waterfall. Return in the same manner. Bonus tip: If you drive a little further up Ohakune Mountain Road, you’ll come across a lookout for Mangawhero Falls, which appears in the Lord of the Rings films.
Waitonga Falls – The car park and DoC sign are 11 kilometers (7 miles) up Ohakune Mountain Road. Mangawhero Falls – The car park is located 16 kilometers (10 miles) up Ohakune Mountain Road.
Visit The Junction
Ohakune town is full of great places to eat and drink, but The Junction is probably the more “hipster” side of town! It’s the place to go to experience the “apres-ski” vibe, with clubs and bars open all winter. All year, you can get a bite to eat at the Kings bar or a delicious pizza from La Pizzeria.
Location: From the Ohakune town center, take Miro Street all the way to the end or Goldfinch Street all the way to Mangawhero Terrace. The Mangawhero River Walk (30 minutes one way), starting opposite Burns Street in Ohakune Town, is the most scenic route.