Plan a Family Trip to Ohakune, Tongariro and Ruapehu
Kiwi families make Ohakune their base for ski holidays in the winter but there’s much more to this small mountain-view town than skiing. It’s a place where families can find stunning walks, venture through the Whanganui National Park on a jet boat, and cuddle an oversized carrot if they really want to. When you’re not outdoors exploring, you can retreat to the family-friendly holiday park, affordable motels or hotel-style accommodation or hit one of the indoor attractions like the nearby army museum. We go through it all and more in this travel guide to Ohakune for families.
Things to Do in Ohakune with Kids
- Ride to the Bridge to Nowhere with Whanganui River Adventures
- Horse trek through streams and a historic town with Ruapehu Homestead Horsetrekking
- Enjoy a short walk in the Mangawhero Forest or to Waitonga Falls
- Hit the slopes of the Turoa ski field
- Hire bikes and ride the Jubilee Walkway, Mangawhero River Trail and more
- Let the kids loose at the Ohakune Carrot playground
- Tackle the indoor climbing walls at SLR @ Vertigo Adventure Centre
- See the tanks at the National Army Museum
- Ride quad bikes with Ruapehu Adventure Rides
- Check out Dinosaur House.
For more information on each activity and their locations, check out the 10 Things to Do in Ohakune with Kids.
Family Adventures in Ohakune
With the Tongariro National Park, Whanganui National Park and Mt Ruapehu on its doorstep, Ohakune is the place for families to adventure together. 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 Mountain Road from Ohakune where families will find ski schools and heaps of ski terrain for the whole family to enjoy. When you’re not out on the slopes, relax in the cafe up there and simply enjoy the alpine scenery.
From mountains to rivers, 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 making it easy to get the whole tribe on and off the boat. 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 abandoned in the wilderness.
Another way to immerse in the amazing scenery of the Ruapehu district is on a horse riding tour with Ruapehu Homestead Horsetreeking. Their one-hour horse rides are ideal for kids, made especially for first-time horse riders. Enjoy a scenic ride to and through a shallow mountain stream or through the historic village of Rangataua.
For more adventures, like cycling, check out the 10 Things to Do in Ohakune with Kids.
All-weather Family Activities
If the weather isn’t playing ball and perhaps the mountain is closed, then there are a couple of excellent options for families to keep the holiday running.
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 independently and safely. There are also more challenging rock climbing walls if older kids or mum and dad want to give it a go.
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 usually 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.
For more ideas, check out the 10 Things to Do in Ohakune on a Rainy Day.
Free Family Activities
Sure, a ski holiday here and a jet boat tour there can get pretty pricey, so complete your Ohakune itinerary with some of the free family-friendly activities. For instance, there’s a good selection of shorts walks to enjoy with kids, such as the Mangawhero Forest Walk through a stunning array of giant native trees covered in moss which are sure to get the imaginations of the little ones running. Head up the mountain road and you can enjoy the walk to Waitonga Falls for an easy 1h20min return walk to a stunning waterfall.
Finally, don’t leave Ohakune without an obligatory visit to the giant Ohakune Carrot. 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 playground that the kids will love.
For more free activities, check out the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Ohakune.