Conditions on the mountain can change rapidly and without warning, affecting visibility and traction on the roads. All of the variables that we deal with on the road normally are amplified in the alpine regions and in order to have a safe, enjoyable ski or snowboard trip to Mt Ruapehu we recommend the following:
Plan your trip – Take a little time to check on current road conditions before you leave. Ensure that your vehicle is in good working order and that you have good wiper blades, antifreeze in your radiator, tyre tread and brakes.
Extra Gear – Always carry extra clothing, food and water. In the event you are held up for some reason you will be glad to be able to stay warm and hydrated. Carry an ice scraper or something that can function as one – a day in the parking lot at 1600m can deposit amazing amounts of snow and ice on your windows.
Obey Road Signs – These are here for your safety, if the road is closed it is for good reason and will be open again as soon as it can be made safe.
Slow Down! – This is driven into our heads day in and day out on TV. When it comes to winter driving, speed will be the difference between staying on the road and not. Slow Down. Avoid sudden movements, accelerate and brake smoothly and gently – before you really need to.
4WD’s - Just because your vehicle is 4WD doesn’t mean that it’s any better at coming down the hill. Be very conservative on the way down at the end of the day, mistakes are not often forgiven in poor winter conditions. Use the engine to brake smoothly and constantly.
Chains - Occasionally, all vehicles (4WDs included) will be required to fit chains in order to drive on the mountain roads. When travelling to Turoa, chain hire is available on the Ohakune mountain road for $30 - fitting and removal included, you won't even need to step out of your vehicle! Please note that while our friendly staff will try to accommodate everyone, some vehicles with larger rims or low profile tires and some larger sedans and station wagons may not be able to fit chains. There is no chain hire on the Bruce Road to Whakapapa, however there are a number of shuttle services offering transport to the top of the Bruce Rd for days that chains are required. Fit chains to the driving wheels of the vehicle, i.e. on the back wheels of a rear wheel drive. Please do not hesitate to contact customer services on 07 892 4000 for more information.
24-hour breakdown services
AA 0800 224 357
24-hour road conditions hotline
AA Highway Reports, 090033 222 (calls cost $1.00/ min)
Or AA Roadwatch site: http://www.aaroadwatch.co.nz/