How do I find the weather forecast for Waiouru?
Google “Waiouru weather” and it will bring up a number of sites. MetService has an excellent site but you need to ensure you are in the rural section, and click on Waiouru. Another good site is myweather2. This will give you a forecast for the next 7 days.
How reliable are these weather forecasts?
The simple answer is no weather forecast is going to be very accurate for Waiouru as it is based upon Waiouru township and not the entire Army Training Area. Waiouru is in the rain shadow of Mt Ruapehu, so most of the westerly rain drops on Mt Ruapehu.
National Park, only 35 km away on the western side of Mt Ruapehu, receives twice the rainfall that Waiouru experiences. Much of the rain
from the north or north west/east drops on the Kaimanawa ranges. The more eastern parts of the Army Training Area often receive Hawkes Bay oriented weather rather than central North
Island weather. However, rain from the south, south west or south east does fall over the majority of the area that is used by Offlimits.
What this means is that it can often be wet or drizzly on the Desert Road, especially at the northern end, but nice and fine further to the east within the training area.
Historically, March only has 9 wet days so it is a good time to run events. April is still a good time — but it is much colder. December is getting warmer but it is a wet month at Waiouru.
What can I expect at Waiouru?
The Army training area that is used for Offlimits events is huge. You can expect to encounter many seasons in one day so everyone needs to be fully prepared. There could be a frost in the morning but by mid morning, you are down to tee-shirt and shorts. Expect wild temperature fluctuations. You could have a 20 degree Celsius variance during the day. It could be raining at day break but by 10am it is brilliantly sunny.
Obviously the best weather is when it is clear and sunny over the entire training area. However, if it is foggy and drizzly and even heavy rain at the Desert Road summit, then don’t get despondent as there is a good chance it will be fine within the majority of the training area.
Waiouru and the Army Training Area is located at altitude and the further one proceeds into the training area, the higher the altitude. Therefore, sunburn, cracked lips and dehydration are accentuated when it is sunny. Conversely hypothermia and chilling can be a problem if the weather turns nasty.
What should I do?
Undertaking Offlimits events at Waiouru is fun no matter what the weather is like between December and the beginning of May — the period in which Offlimits events are conducted. Our advice is if there is an Offlimits event on that you want to attend at Waiouru, then just ignore the weather forecast and turn up. However, you should come prepared. This includes but is not limited to:
- Having good tyres on your vehicle/bike so you can maximise traction
- Always riding with a back pack and carrying water, a warm jacket and warm gloves
- Having spare warm clothes with you to put on if you get wet while riding
- Eating plenty so you maintain your energy
- Applying sunburn cream and lip balm
- Bringing a warm sleeping bag if camping — it can get cold
- Making sure your bike/vehicle is serviceable. Due to the altitude, you could notice a significant reduction in power if it is carburetted. Older 2 strokes are more susceptible to fouling plugs, so carry spare spark plugs.
20-year averages for Waiouru weather
|Average days of rain||12||9||6||9||10|
|Average days ground frost||2.6||1.2||1.5||9||7.3|