Motoring tips

Preparation and planning for the mountain

  • Be sure your cooling system contains at least 50% anti-freeze.
  • Always carry chains, make sure they fit properly and practise putting them on before you have to do it in the dark, rain, snow, etc. There is a chain hiring/fitting service operating during daylight hours on both Turoa and Bruce access roads.
    Note: If you cannot get further than the Chateau, there is a shuttle service to the Top of the Bruce. The last shuttle leaves at 5.00 pm.
  • Top up your fuel at the last 24 hour service station (Waiouru, Turangi, Taumarunui) in case roads are closed and you have to drive on/back to somewhere else.
  • There is limited overnight parking at Whakapapa. You may have to drop off gear and passengers and park further down the mountain. Vehicles left in the day parks after 5pm are towed to allow snow clearing to be carried out. Parking is free.

Parking precautions for the mountain

  • Park in gear with the handbrake off. If your brakes freeze “on”, you will be stuck.
  • Flip your windscreen wipers away from the glass, they will damage themselves or the wiper motor if operated when frozen to the windscreen.
  • Take care de-icing your windscreen, they break easily. A can or two of de-icing spray (obtainable from some garages) and a domestic freezer scraper are good thing to have. But, keep them in your pack as they are no good frozen inside your car when you need them to de-ice the door locks and weather strips.
  • If your engine starts, runs properly then stops after 20 – 30 seconds, then does the same thing again; check the exhaust pipe, it may be plugged with snow.
  • Make sure your aerial is retracted, they do not like excessive snow and ice loading.