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Ever heard of Ohakune?

June 18, 2010

There is a presence around Ohakune that heeds the warning to “take care.” A looming presence you can sense on every street corner of this small town, see from every window facing east and feel regularly underneath your feet.

In Maori Ohakune means a place to take care. Somewhat ominous sounding, but there is reason behind this meaning. In Ohakune you are being watched over by a godfather 24/7. Temperamental as any could be, unpredictable as the weather;a godfather who lends his hand to the sad case Gollums of the world and the outdoor recreationists.

Despite the occasional outburst, this godfather is sacred, a king among New Zealand’s mountains known as Ruapehu or pit of noise in Maori (I’ll be writing a post on Ruapehu soon).

by Cate

Ohakune was one of those sleepy run down resorts through the 70s and 80s with a few ramshackle ski lodges and greasy diners which closed down during the summer months. Now the town of ominous meaning has picked up — a lot. Hundreds of skiers frequent the town between June to October and longer to play on the mountains ski fields Whakapapa and Turoa, and hikers come to explore the native bush during the summer where the air is cool and the trails are relatively empty.

Given it’s popularity the town has still kept its small town character. There are no fancy upmarket hotels, these can be found around Taupo an hour’s drive north. What there is in Ohakune are dozens of ski lodges, small holiday homes, motels and chalets, along with apres ski bars, pre-ski cafés, ski rental outlets, and a supermarket.

Ohakune’s other name is Carrot Capital. This is the place where carrots are made — or used to be. The fertile volcanic soils have been ploughed and farmed for years producing some of the sweetest carrots around New Zealand, and some of the country’s greenest pastures.

by Cate

And possibly quite possibly the world’s biggest carrot.

by Cate

I’ve only had one opportunity to snowboard on Whakapapa skifield, the highest windiest ski field in the country plus one of the busiest places to carve it up.

I don’t recommend going during the school holiday months July and August unless you have kids, or this is the only time you can go. Leave it until September when spring temperatures makes corn snow.

Right now I miss that feeling you get when you’re carving in powder….

Caffeinated Traveller

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8 Comments
  1. neil permalink
    June 18, 2010 4:00 pm

    thanks cate for some really fantastic articles ! i enjoy them immensely.

  2. June 18, 2010 4:27 pm

    You are very very welcome Neil!!!

  3. travelforaircraft permalink
    June 19, 2010 9:36 am

    Love the gargantuan carrot 🙂

    I have a photo of a huge pineapple!

    • June 20, 2010 10:03 am

      Would like to see this pineapple, where does it come from?

  4. June 19, 2010 10:03 am

    The place to take care and eat carrots! I love it. Great post!

    • June 20, 2010 10:06 am

      I could do a post for nearly every small town in NZ, there is something unusual about each one: abalone shells, wellington boots, kiwi, soda…the list goes on.

  5. June 21, 2010 11:24 am

    That second photo is SO inviting. Nice, Cate.

  6. June 21, 2010 12:39 pm

    Thanks Heather, green is green is green and this place is definitely green.

Comments are closed.