We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Winter weather driving in North Island

New York City, New...
2 posts
Save Topic
Winter weather driving in North Island

Hi! My husband and I are driving from Auckland to Wellington in early September. I was planning on stopping in Ohakune for one night and then in Martinborough for another to break up the trip. Are the roads ok for driving or do I need to worry about snow? Any roads I should avoid? We will be doing a day-trip to Rotarua/etc (with a tour) so do not need to drive through that area again. Thanks!

Alanna

Auckland, New...
Level Contributor
1,531 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Winter weather driving in North Island

Hi

You need not worry about snow on the roads in the north island in September.

No roads to avoid that I can think of but be aware that it takes a long time to get from A to B in New Zealand. We do not have an extensive freeway system and you just cannot cover the distances like you can in the USA.

I always use and recommend Google Maps for route planning.

www.maps.google.co.nz

The times given are basic driving times and can be as ,uch as doubled to allow for stops etc

Palmerston North
Level Contributor
77 posts
1 review
Save Reply
2. Re: Winter weather driving in North Island

What a scenic trip you're about to embark on. September should be a good month to travel. It's very rare that the roads on both sides of Mt Ruapehu are closed anyway.

I'd suggest travelling The Country Road between Ohakune and Martinborough. Take SH 54 just south of Mangaweka. This is a scenic shortcut between SH1 and Manawatu Gorge. Pick up a brochure/map from Taupo i-SITE. There are small art galleries, historic collections, scenic lookouts, boutique shops, a winery and a place where you can make your own therapeutic body products along the way.

You can either bypass Feilding and Palmerston North completely by taking this route, or stop by on your way.

newzealand.com/travel/…i-sites_home.cfm To see where the i-SITE Visitor Centres are, click on this link. They're a great place to stop to get free maps, local information, including about road closures.

Rarotonga, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland
Level Contributor
13,115 posts
111 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Winter weather driving in North Island

If you've travelled SH1 before, from Auckland to Taupo, I suggest you take SH3 from Hamilton and continue through Te Kuiti to Taumaranui on SH4 (both King country towns). Rural highway SH4 takes you right past Tongariro NP, but on the west side of volcanic mountains. Short detour from National Park township to the Chateau at Ruapehu if you have time on way to Ohakune. Rejoin SH1 at Waiouru where the military museum is located, after your stay in Ohakune.

Very rarely are the roads closed in Nth Island early September, due to snowstorms. Ski season will still continue at both Whakapapa (reached from road to Chateau on north) and Turoa on the south (near Ohakune).

Edited: 19 May 2010, 04:18
New Zealand
Level Contributor
9,276 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Winter weather driving in North Island

Never say never though, I've been caught in Taupo trying to get to Napier for a funeral in early September when the Napier/Taupo road and both highways either side of the mountains were closed due to snow. Admittedly it was only for 8 hours but it threw a spanner in the works. In the end I had to go via the Manawatu and drive up SH2 to HB, the mountain highways were more important to be cleared than the Napier-Taupo. I would say that that's a once in 5 yr happening.........lets hope this isn't year 5 ;)

Rarotonga, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland
Level Contributor
13,115 posts
111 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Winter weather driving in North Island

The 5th year in a row was last year, wasn't it Zappers? I recall seeing the same rental car and couple of oversseas visitors featured night upon night waiting it out on the Desert Road and national television. Admittedly it was during winter proper though. Still, as you say who knows - look how unusual the North Is weather has been this year - mid May and we are sweltering with warm sunny days. Surely this can't last. Or can it!

New York City, New...
2 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Winter weather driving in North Island

Thanks for all of the advice- what about good places to stop on the way from Auckland to Ohakune for lunch or siteseeing?

7. Re: Winter weather driving in North Island

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 23 January 2011, 05:15