I never considered New Year in Ohakune as an exciting option to start the year. However, friends visiting from Queensland expressed an interest in revisiting the area. Suddenly New Year in Ohakune became a reality this summer. I wasn’t terribly enthusiastic.
Ohakune was close to Waiouru where we lived in the early 1980’s so I had been to the town before. A visit to Ohakune’s supermarket once every few weeks, while a change of routine, never enthralled me to stay. We never ogled the view of Mount Ruapehu because we had a better view from our own lounge window. For me, Ohakune was famous for two things, its massive carrot sign on outskirts of town, and its root vegetables.
I admit it, wholeheartedly. I was wrong. New Year in Ohakune was neither dull or boring. Primarily because of the company of very dear friends, but the township also has its own pull. Much had changed in that sleepy little town I remembered. Everywhere we looked new housing was springing up and people abounded. The supermarket was full but the friendliness of other shoppers reminded me we were in a rural area, not a city.
There is much to do and see in Ohakune. One friend was on crutches so this did limit our ability to explore the many hiking tracks around the mountain. But we could appreciate the offer of so many summer pursuits. I can now understand why Ohakune has become as popular in summer. I assumed it was primarily a winter playground with its proximity to the ski slopes at both Turoa and Whakapapa. Mountain bikers and trampers must find this area heaven.
Ohakune has more going for it than the mountain. We found a couple of restaurants we’d go back to in a heartbeat. One sold a variety of hamburgers beyond anything any of us had ever seen. We all struggled to finish our “small” options, relieved we hadn’t ordered a “large” hamburger.
All in all, my New Year in Ohakune was a great break. A great surprise to me as well, but I admit it, I’d visit it again any time. Well, maybe not in the winter.