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Most scenic SH1 or SH 4 & 49?

Level Contributor
6 posts
43 reviews
Most scenic SH1 or SH 4 & 49?

We are seniors traveling from Rotorua to Wellington via Tongariro National Park and spending the night near the junction of SH 4 & 47. We are planning to do some short walks from the Whakapapa Visitor Center.

The next morning we have the choice of heading toward Wellington via SH 47, 46, and 1 or heading on 4 to Ohakune, then SH 49 and join 1 further south. Which is the more scenic route?

New Plymouth
Level Contributor
1,495 posts
46 reviews
1. Re: Most scenic SH1 or SH 4 & 49?

I'm glad I re-read this as I was thinking originally, you meant what was the most scenic route south to Wellington.

There is no wrong answer - the first route will circle you around the park, and through a mountain range to the North, and then back south towards Wellington via the Desert Road - it is not really a desert as it is far too wet, but the soil is very poor, and it is a barren sort of area. The southerly route is shorter, and will bring you around the southern flanks of Mount Ruapehu. Additional short walks are available from Ohakune.

In either case you will see a variety of landscapes, from forests, to grass covered plateau, to the Rangipo Desert described above, and move from wide open spaces to narrow gorges.

If you are coming now, either route is fine. In winter, the Desert Road (northern route) is periodically closed due to heavy snow, and is the highest point on the State Highway Network (1074m).

2. Re: Most scenic SH1 or SH 4 & 49?

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