Family Activities in Ohakune
What is there to do in Ohakune with kids? The short answer is, as Kiwis would say, “Heaps!” but you’re probably going to want to know the details. From epic adventures like skiing on Mt Ruapehu and jet boating on the Whanganui River to the completely random places like a giant carrot and a dinosaur museum, there’s plenty going on in Ohakune. So, find the activity to suit your family’s taste, sense of adventure and budget with this list of the best things to do in Ohakune with kids.
For more family activities in Ohakune and advice on planning your trip, check out The Guide to Ohakune for Families.
1. Enjoy a Short Walk in the Mangawhero Forest or to Waitonga Falls
Before we get onto any of the pricey stuff, be assured that there are some free family-friendly things to do in Ohakune. There are a good selection of shorts walks to enjoy with kids, such as the Mangawhero Forest Walk, taking just an hour to walk through a stunning array of giant native trees covered in moss. Head up the Ohakune Mountain Road and you can enjoy a slightly longer walk to Waitonga Falls with amazing views of the peak of Mt Ruapehu along the way.
Location: Mangawhero Forest Walk – Bottom of Ohakune Mountain Road. Waitonga Falls Track – 11km (7 miles) up Ohakune Mountain Road.
2. Let the Kids Loose at the Ohakune Carrot Playground
Another free and, of course, unmissable thing to do in Ohakune is checking out the giant carrot sculpture. Found along the main road at the east end of town, the Ohakune Carrot not only provides a fun photo opportunity for the family, but it stands in front of a large vegetable-themed playground that the kids will love. It’s kind of crazy but good fun!
Location: 4a Rangataua Road, Ohakune town centre.
3. Take a Jet Boat Tour to the Bridge to Nowhere
Now onto the more serious stuff, another thing you could be doing with the kids is taking a journey down the Whanganui River by jet boat. Whanganui River Adventures has a specially-designed jet boat with a walkway down the middle so you can get the whole tribe on and off the boat with ease. Be amazed by the towering river gorge scenery of the Whanganui National Park and hop off for a short walk to the famous Bridge to Nowhere. You’ll enjoy snacks provided by the tour and learn about the interesting history of this wilderness area. See how the tour compares in the 17 Places to Jet Boat in New Zealand.
Location: 2522 Pipiriki Raetihi Road, approximately 38km (24 miles) from Ohakune.
4. Horse Trek Through Streams and a Historic Town
Another way to immerse in the amazing scenery of the surrounding area is on a horse riding tour with Ruapehu Homestead Horsetreeking. Their one-hour horse rides are ideal for kids, made especially for their first time horse riding. The short rides are either through a shallow mountain stream or through the historic village of Rangataua.
Location: 4691 State Highway 49, approximately 5km (3 miles) from Ohakune town centre.
5. Hit the Slopes of the Turoa Ski Field
If you’re visiting in winter (July to September), treat the kids to some skiing or snowboarding lessons on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu. The Turoa ski field is just up the Ohakune Mountain Road where families will find ski schools and heaps of family-friendly terrain. When you’re not out on the slopes, relax in the cafe up there and simply enjoy the alpine scenery. Learn more about the ski field in The 24 Ski Fields in New Zealand.
Location: Top of Ohakune Mountain Road, approximately 19km (12 miles) from Ohakune town centre.
6. Head on the Bike Trails
If you ask the locals what people do here when they’re not skiing, they’ll usually say “biking!” Luckily, families can get in on the action too with family-friendly bike trails in-town like the Jubilee Walkway connecting to the Mangawhero River Trail. Kids also love hitting the Te Pepe Bike Park and Pump Track at The Junction part of town. If you have older kids, you could also try the Ohakune Old Coach Road which is of moderate difficulty and kids will need to be confident and fit to enjoy it.
Location: Check out where the bike trails are in the 7 Must-Do Cycle Trails in Ohakune.
7. Tackle the Indoor Climbing Walls
Right in the heart of Ohakune is its own indoor climbing wall complex, SLR @ Vertigo Adventure Centre. With their Clip ‘N Climb systems, kids aged three and above can enjoy climbing the array of crazy climbing walls both safely and independently. There are also more challenging rock climbing walls if older kids or mum and dad want to give it a go. It’s an epic thing to do on a rainy day in Ohakune!
Location: 27 Goldfinch Street, Ohakune town centre
8. See the Tanks at the National Army Museum
Not too far from Ohakune is the town of Waiouru, the main base of the New Zealand army and home of the National Army Museum. Kids are typically in awe of the tanks and military vehicles on display, while the museum also holds interesting exhibitions of New Zealand’s military connections throughout history. The Kids HQ is also a feature where kids can dress up, do a number of puzzles and more in this interactive space made for the youngsters.
Location: Corner State Highway One and Hassett Drive, Waiouru, approximately 28km (17 miles) from Ohakune.
9. Do a Buggy Ride with Ruapehu Adventure Rides
Ride over the hills and through farms overlooking the Tongariro National Park in a 4WD buggy with Ruapehu Adventure Rides. While this is predominantly a self-drive quad biking tour, children can join in on the fun thanks to the four-seater buggies where you’ll have a guide driving. Mum or dad might want to give quad biking a go too!
Location: Mountain Heights Lodge, 4576 State Highway 4, National Park, approximately 33km (21 miles) from Ohakune town centre.
10. Visit Dinosaur House
Yes, there’s even a dinosaur museum near Ohakune. Located in a 1922 heritage building in the neighbouring town of Raetihi, Dinosaur House is New Zealand’s largest collection of privately owned dinosaur skeletons, fossils and life-size models. It’s a place the kids will talk about for weeks after they visit!
Location: 102 Seddon Street, Raetihi, approximately 12km (7 miles) from Ohakune.