Chateau Tongariro guests trapped due to blizzard-like conditions

  • 14/07/2017

Hundreds of people are stranded in what might seem luxurious surrounds, as the storm rages on in the central North Island.

About 500 guests and staff are hunkering down at Chateau Tongariro and Skotel Alpine Resort at Mount Ruapehu to wait out the massive storm that has struck the area.

The district has been hammered by five-metre snowdrifts, howling wind, and rain over Thursday night through to Friday, with road closures and power outages a result of the wild weather.

Cut off by the closing of state highways 47 and 48, hotel manager Bruce McGlynn said while the fact they are trapped is unfortunate, everyone is safe and guests are treating it as an adventure.

Mr McGlynn has been managing the historic hotel for four and a half years, and said he had never experienced weather like it.

"I'm looking out the window at a five-metre snowdrift and the whip is whipping around at what feels like a million miles an hour.”

Emergency vehicles can get to them if they need to, he said, “and the brilliant folks at Civil Defence are bringing food through - there are some amazing people working out there in really difficult conditions.”

Mr McGlynn said when the weather did clear and the roads became passable, it would set them up nicely for the rest of the winter season.

Horizons, Ruapehu, Manawatu, Tararua and Palmerston North councils all have their emergency operations centres operating on Friday, and are likely to keep them running throughout the day and into the weekend.

Power outages are still a problem in the neighbouring towns of Ohakune, Whakapapa and Raetihi.

The Ruapehu District Council is advising people to only travel when absolutely necessary.