With all ski fields now open on Mt Ruapehu, it’s safe to say the 2019 ski season is in full swing. We’ve already had excellent snowfall accompanied by some great weather. However, it’s a good time to remind ourselves that, during a Mt Ruapehu closure, there is still plenty to do in Tongariro National Park.
Mt Ruapehu has a climate of its own. So while it may be a clear blue day from the base of the mountain, there is always a possibility that the conditions are completely different on the ski field.
It pays to check the Mt Ruapehu ski report the morning of your planned trip to the ski fields. Rather than assuming the slopes will be open only to get there and find out they’re not, check first to be 100% sure.
Fortunately, Tongariro National Park is still a great place to be for outdoor adventure.
And if the mountain is having a bad day, doesn’t mean you need to!
Top five alternative activities if a Mt Ruapehu closure strikes
Bridge to nowhere
See two of New Zealand’s most beautiful national parks in one day and head down to discover the Bridge to Nowhere in Whanganui National Park.
This eerie location is a reminder of those who came before us and their tireless attempt to make the area a popular place to live.
Constructed in the 1930s the bridge was created to allow low and middle lying farms access to the road. This area was known as the Mangapurua Valley Soldiers Settlement and was completely deserted by the time the bridge was completed. Consequently, the construction of the road was abandoned.
The Bridge to Nowhere remains the largest remaining structure of the Mangapurua Valley Soldiers Settlement. The structure is a Historic Places Trust Category 1 listing.
To get to the Bridge to Nowhere, take a gentle 40-minute walk or 20-minute mountain bike from the Mangapurua Landing within Whanganui National Park.
Forgotten world adventure
The Forgotten World Adventure 5 Tunnel Tour operates all year round. Even on a misty grey day, checking out the area by rail cart is truly spectacular.
Forgotten World Adventure tours are a one-of-a-kind experience.
As you pass through some of New Zealand’s most remote landscape, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Surrounded by vast hill country and native bush, you’ll quickly see why the area is aptly named the ‘Forgotten World’.
The 5 Tunnel Tour takes approximately 3.5 hours and includes a stop for delicious home baking, refreshments at the historical landmark, Matiere Village.
Forgotten World Adventures is located in Taumaranui, only 30 minutes drive from The Park Hotel.
When you visit the area’s local waterfalls, you can expect the unexpected.
The Taranaki Falls is not your average waterfall.
This structure is a result of ancient lava flows and will have you completely in awe of what nature can create.
This is an easy 5.3km free walk through tussock, alpine shrub and beech forest. Beginning at Whakapapa Village, you will head into the forest and pass over the Wairere Stream before continuing up the track to be wowed by rushing water plunging over the edge of a 20-metre drop.
The Taranaki Falls is a product of an eruption by Mt Ruapehu some 15,000 years ago.
If you haven’t quite seen enough, take the stairs up the track into a forest of mountain toatoa before arriving at the Tama Lakes. Here you’ll see six stunning lakes occupying ancient explosion craters from an eruption by Mt Ruapehu around 10,000 years ago.
Ohakune Old Coach Road
The Ohakune Old Coach Road is one of the few lasting features of the area’s rail heritage. Only a 15-minute drive from The Park Hotel, visitors can walk or cycle the tracks that vary from historic cobbled road to railway bridge remains. As you pass through the tracks, take in beautiful views from above and immerse yourself in native forest.
The Ohakune Old Coach Road is a significant piece of history as it was originally created as the main link between two railheads between 1906 and 1908. Before the railheads were linked by new railways, the Ohakune Old Coach road allowed horses to transport goods from one railhead to another.
There is a range of different routes you can take through the Ohakune Old Coach Road, allowing you to choose the distance of your journey. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, the full walk is 15km and takes around four and a half hours to complete. The mountain biking track is an easy, grade two-level on shared-use track. This is completed in approximately two hours and twenty minutes.
Tokaanu Thermal Springs
Take a 30-minute drive from The Park Hotel to the small village of Tokaanu and experience the wonders of natural thermal hot pools. Tokaanu is known for its healing thermal waters that were used by generations past for steaming food and boiling flax in preparation for weaving.
Tokaanu Thermal Springs was created as a way of sharing the natural phenomenon with visitors.
Boasting one large pool, 12 private natural mineral pools and a kids’ pool, it’s easy to spend a full day here.
There is also a free short bush walk that surrounds the facility. Here you’ll be treated to authentic geothermal activity by way of bubbling mud baths and steaming mineral pools. The walk takes approximately 20 minutes and is also wheelchair accessible.
While it can be extremely disappointing to prepare for a day on the slopes only to be hit with a Mt Ruapehu closure, it’s also a great opportunity to see more of our amazing region.
Don’t be deterred by the possibility of a Mt Ruapehu closure, you’ll be surprised at how much there is to do in Tongariro National Park, even when it’s blowing a gale on the mountain.
Book a winter getaway in our adventurous location. Call us today.