We recently had the opportunity to partake in a company-hosted ski trip in Ohakune. Now neither I nor Beau ski, so we decided it would be a good opportunity to practice some more winter tramping, possibly a winter crossing, and refine our alpine skills.
Alas, much to the dismay of my colleagues, the weather gods punished us. The ski-fields were mostly closed, and Ohakune a damp miserable grey winterland.
The Tongariro Crossing was right out.
Undeterred, and wanting to burn off the calories consumed from driving snacks during the 5 hour trip down, we dressed in the standard three layers of clothing with raincoat over top and embarked on the Tama Lakes track.
The Tama Lakes are a 5 – 6 hour return walk. The track forks off from the Northern Circuit, and is often neglected by exhausted trampers, who just want to get back to the car park or hut.
We headed out at 9am. Even in rain and fog, it’s an interesting walk. The track takes walkers past the waterfalls, over a ridge, and into a valley bordered by Ruapehu on the right and Ngauruhoe on the left (well, on a clear day, anyway).
Two hours into the track, it forks off towards the Tama lakes. It’s a 10 minute walk to the first lake, but the second lake involves an hour long scramble up a steep ridge. However, it’s well worth the effort. And the summit hosts several sheltered rocks providing excellent lunching opportunities. Even in rain.
Views are spectacular. Despite the gale-force wind and general sogginess, it was a safe walk, and is an ideal option for walkers not quite ready to do the Tongariro Crossing, but who still want to experience some of the breathtaking scenery from National Park and beyond.
The indecisive weather treated us to some spectacular rainbows over the lakes, making for a fantastic day walk, on an otherwise glum Ohakune winter day.
View all photos here.
View my colleague’s non-ski photos here.