All-Weather and Indoor Activities in Ohakune – Perfect for a Rainy Day or When the Mountain is Closed!
What do you do when the Tongariro Crossing is cancelled, when the mountain is closed, when the Whanganui River is too high, or you just don’t feel like mountain biking in the rain? Well, Ohakune still has heaps to do in bad weather thanks to its short walks in the forest, its collection of eateries, its indoor climbing walls and museums… Lots and lots of museums. So, don’t let a rainy day bring your holiday to a grinding halt. Check out these amazing things to do in Ohakune on a rainy day!
1. Learn Something New at the Ohakune Rail Museum
Of course, any rainy day activity list needs a museum and Ohakune has many! The Ohakune Rail Museum is a free museum telling the stories of The Main Trunk Railway, which opened in 1908 and is an important part of the town’s history. See railway relics and learn about the railway’s history, about local feats of railway engineering like the Raurimu Spiral, and about New Zealand’s worst-ever rail disaster, the Tangiwai Train Disaster. The museum is open Thursday to Sunday from 10am to 2pm.
Location: 62 Thames Street, The Junction.
2. See the Tanks at the National Army Museum
Next on the museum list is the National Army Museum in Waiouru, a short drive from Ohakune. From the early Maori battles and New Zealand’s contribution to the world wars to today’s conflicts, the museum tells the history of New Zealand’s military with realistic scene displays, weapons and military vehicles including tanks! While there is a small admission fee, we also list this activity in the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Ohakune.
Location: Hassett Drive, State Highway 1, Waiouru, approximately 28km (17 miles) from Ohakune town centre.
3. Tackle the Indoor Climbing Wall
And you thought we were going to give you another museum… An alternative thing to do in Ohakune on a rainy day is climbing at the town’s indoor climbing wall complex, Vertigo Adventure Centre. With their Clip ‘N Climb systems, people aged three to 83 can enjoy climbing the array of crazy kids’ climbing walls and more challenging rock climbing walls both safely and independently. Check out more activities like this in the 10 Things to Do in Ohakune with Kids.
Location: Corner of Goldfinch Street and Ayr Street, Ohakune town centre.
4. Visit Dinosaur House
Back to the museums, this might just be the most random one yet. Travel to the neighbouring town of Raetihi and you’ll find a dinosaur museum! Located in a 1922 heritage building, Dinosaur House is New Zealand’s largest collection of privately owned dinosaur skeletons, fossils and life-size models. With an affordable admission fee, it’s definitely worth a look.
Location: 102 Seddon Street, Raetihi, approximately 12km (7 miles) from Ohakune.
5. Walk the Mangawhero Forest Walk
If you’re still dying to get outside, then a short walk under the cover of Mt Ruapehu’s dense lower mountain forest is a great option. The Mangawhero Forest Walk is only an hour loop walk, so even if you do get wet, it won’t be for long. See stunning displays of mature native trees covered in moss, looking all the more vibrant in the rain. The walk also follows the picturesque Mangawhero River and has a short side loop with a nature walk to learn more about the trees on interpretation panels.
Location: Bottom of Ohakune Mountain Road, approximately 3km (2 miles) from Ohakune town centre and within walking distance of The Junction.
6. Unwind with a Massage Treatment
Ease the aches from your strenuous hikes, mountain biking, canoe journeys or skiing with a blissful massage at one of Ohakune’s indoor spas. Barefoot Beauty offers a comprehensive menu of organic facial treatments and skin care, body treatments, herbal soaks, couples therapy, warming massages and much more. Alternatively, Snowman Lodge and Spa offer aroma massages in their treatment room, as well as a sauna and a spa pool.
Location: Barefoot Beauty – 78 Tawhero Street. Snowman Lodge and Spa – 68 Clyde Street.
7. Indulge in High Tea at the Chateau Tongariro [CLOSED]
Update: Due to the derelict state of the building, Chateau Tongariro is no longer accepting bookings.
On the other side of Mt Ruapehu in Whakapapa Village, the historic Chateau Tongariro stands majestically at the base of the mountain. While a rainy day might not be the best to admire the usual volcano views from the hotel, you still might like to treat yourself to their high tea experience in the Ruapehu Lounge. Chateau Tongariro’s high tea treats patrons to indulgent finger sandwiches, scones and an array of sweet treats. Plus, choose from their extensive tea menu served in dainty teacups. See more experiences like this in the 9 Luxury Activities in Ohakune.
Location: Whakapapa Village, approximately 50km (31 miles) from Ohakune town centre.
8. Do Some Boutique Shopping in Ohakune Town
A rainy day in Ohakune is a good excuse to hit the boutique shops of the town. Commemorate your time on the mountains of the Tongariro National Park with some modern NZ-made apparel from Strange Dog Print and Design. Or how about picking up something unique from Cornercopia, which sells locally-made crafts? The Craft Haus at the railway station is also worth a look around, selling premium merino wool clothing, luxury homewares, artwork and more. The latter even has an espresso bar in-store so you can warm up before heading back out in the rain.
Location: Strange Dog Print and Design – 19a Goldfinch Street. Cornercopia – 33 Clyde Street. The Craft Haus – 31 Thames Road.
9. Grab a Bite to Eat
Ohakune is not a bad place to get caught in the rain if you like foodie experiences. You’ll find cafes, bars, restaurants and takeaways lining the town centre, as well as The Junction part of town. In town, grab a coffee at Utopia Cafe or Thorn Ohakune. In the evening dine on gourmet burgers at The Blind Finch or enjoy craft beer and contemporary New Zealand cuisine at The Cyprus Tree. At The Junction, take in the apres-ski vibe of Powderkeg or Kings Bar and Burger Saloon or try the popular wood-fired pizzas of La Pizzeria. Check out more of our recommendations in The Luxury Guide to Ohakune, The Honeymoon Guide to Ohakune and The Guide to Ohakune on a Budget.
Location: Utopia Cafe – 47 Clyde Street. Thorn Ohakune – 58 Clyde Street. The Blind Finch – 29 Goldfinch Street. Cyprus Tree – 77 Clyde Street. Powderkeg – 194 Mangawhero Terrace. Kings Bar and Burger Saloon – 3 Rimu Street. La Pizzeria – 6 Thames Street.
10. Visit the Waimarino Museum
You didn’t think we’d finish this rainy-day-in-Ohakune list without mentioning another museum, did you? Well, this one is only open on Sundays between 2pm and 4pm so you’ll have to time it right. The Waimarino Museum is based at the Raetihi Railway Station, home to an interesting collection from early Maori settlers, through the age of Ruapehu’s timber industry until the present day. There’s an interesting exhibition space in the former stables and jail cells of the building. Entry is free but a donation is appreciated.
Location: 101 Seddon Street, Raetihi, approximately 12km (7 miles) from Ohakune.
11. Binge-Watch 365 Days, 365 Activities in New Zealand
If all else fails, you can always get some inspiration for your next epic New Zealand activity by watching New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year on YouTube. Watch as the team behind NZ Pocket Guide take on 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand! Make sure to subscribe.