Skiing and snowboarding at Mt Ruapehu
Ohakune village is the hottest little ski town, they have a camp-ground within walking distance to the main street. I recommend you book this in advance as accommodation can be very hard to come by in Ohakune, particularly when the skiing weather is good. You can always free-camp in your Motorhome but it is always nice to be able to power up the electric heater. I would not recommend spending the night up on the mountain as the weather can be very extreme and you could be marooned for several days.
From Auckland(A) drive south on highway 1 (this trip takes about 4 hours total one way)
Turn right at Ngaruawahia (highway 39) and follow the signs to Otorohanga
Then turn right towards Te Kuiti via highway 4
Take the turnoff to Ohakune(C) via highway 49
Travel from Auckland via Pirongia and avoid a lot of the traffic, turn right at Ngaruawahia via Highway 39. There is a lovely golf course located at Pirongia which is well worth the time to enjoy.
Mt Ruapehu has two ski fields on difference sides of the mountain, which means when one side is affected by the weather is it quite common to be able to ski at the other field. Weekend skiing can be affected by large queues of people with waits of 20 mins being common. To avoid these queues I would recommend visiting the ski fields only on Monday to Friday. The Powderkeg Ohakune is one of the hot spots for when you have finished your days skiing and need to relax. My favourite eating spot is Misha's Italian Cafe & Restaurant 55 Clyde Street, Ohakune - the lasagne is fantastic.
Driving up the mountain for a day’s skiing occasionally requires you to have a 4WD or to fit chains, particularly just after some snow has fallen. If this looks like it could happen I would recommend going early (7.30am) as the queue to fit chains can be several hours long. If you have planned well and have a 4WD then you can most times bypass this queue.
Rental gear can be hired on the mountain, but this can also take a lot of time and reduce your time on the slopes, best to hire gear down in Ohakune the night before you go skiing.
One way to get this latest weather and ski report is to listen to SkiFM 93.4, but be warned they have a tendency to report in a confusing way, so listen carefully right to the end of their report as they leave the real useful information to the last. If you pop in to one of the ski rental places they pin up a fax of the latest snow report, highly recommended. Link to my favourite weather report Turoa 6 Day Snow Forecast & Skiing Weather for 1962 m
If you are not into skiing then the bush walks in the National Park are very enjoyable. The Tongariro Crossing is my favourite although I would recommend doing this only during the summer months.
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