Driving the Alpine Ohakune Mountain Road in NZ
Ohakune Mountain Road is a sealed road located on the southern end of the Taupo Volcanic Zone in New Zealand, within Tongariro National Park. It’s one of the highest roads of the country.
How long is Ohakune Mountain Road?
Located within the Tongariro National Park, the road is totally sealed. It’s 16.2 km (10 miles) long. It tops out at 1.630m (5,347ft) above the sea level. The road offers stunning views. It’s one of New Zealand’s most spectacular roads. On a clear day, you can see as far as the South Island. Along the way on the road are numerous points of interest.
Is Ohakune Mountain Road steep?
Starting at Old Station Road, the road is 16.2 km. Over this distance the elevation gain is 1015 meters. The average gradient is 6.26%, with some parts up to 15%. This is an alpine environment, so the weather can change quickly and it can get cold. Huge-leafed mountain cabbage trees with silvery under-sided leaves dot the roadside. A chairlift service road (-39.298138, 175.547266) climbs up to 2.052m (6,732ft) above the sea level.
How long does it take to drive the Ohakune Mountain Road?
Allow 20 minutes to drive without any stop. There is cellphone reception, although it may be patchy in places. The scenic road was opened in 1963. It’s said to be one of the most picturesque drives in the country. This road is usually open all year, but it can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow. Weather conditions can be changeable over the day, and mountain visitors are advised to be prepared and carry basic survival equipment. Although severe weather is unusual and generally forecast, it has claimed several lives over the years, including a party of five soldiers and one naval rating, caught in a week-long storm while undergoing winter survival training in 1990.