Ohakune Mountain Road is an asphalted 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 in the country.
The road's winding design, providing stunning panoramic views, is very curvy and fun for a leisurely ride, so it pays to take it slow. Rising through one thousand metres, the Ohakune Mountain Road is one of the most picturesque drives in the country, taking in lowland forest, alpine beech forest, then windsweptalpine shrublands and magnificent views of the surrounding countryside.
This road is usually open all year, but it can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow. Starting at 600 metres above sea level at the Ohakune Junction, the 17-kilometre road passes through podocarp/broadleaf forest dominated by lofty rimu and matai trees. Huge-leafed mountain cabbage trees with silvery under-sided leaves dot the roadside. By the time you reach the top -1.620 metres- (5,314ft) above the sea level, the average percentage is 6%.
The weather on this zone is harsh and highly unpredictable and it does not take much time for the bright sun shine to change over to moderate to heavy snow fall. 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.