Ultimate 4wd destination: Tukino Skifield in NZ

Tukino Skifield is a ski resort at an elevation of 1.705m (5,593ft) above the sea level, located in the Waikato Region in the central area of the North Island, New Zealand. It’s one of the highest roads of the country.

Tukino Skifield

Can you drive to Tukino Skifield?

Tucked away in the Rangipo Desert, the road to the resort is totally unpaved. It’s called Tukino Access Road. A gate on the road is locked over the summer months. The road is suitable for four wheel drive vehicles only during the winter months. There is a carpark for 2WD vehicles 6 km in from the Desert Road turnoff.

How long is the road to Tukino Skifield?

Starting on State Highway 1, also known as The Desert Road, the road to the summit is 13.2km (8.20 miles) long. Over this distance the elevation gain is 634 meters. The average gradient is 4.80%, hitting an 11% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps.

Is the road to Tukino Skifield open?

Nestled on the eastern face of Mount Ruapehu, running up the side of an active volcano, the road can be easily blocked by snow at any time of the year. So caution is advised, and keep an eye on the forecast. From time to time especially early in the season, the road may be totally impassable due to snow drifts, even to 4WD vehicles fitted with chains. It is very important that you make yourself aware of the road status before you attempt to drive into the Tukino Alpine Village. Be prepared with all the gear so you are good for any situation.
Pic: Anatoly Chernyshev