We spent Queen's Birthday Weekend in Raetihi, a sleepy rural town in Tongariro National Park. Raetihi is ten minutes from Ohakune, a slightly bigger (but still miniature!) township close to the southwestern slopes of the active volcano Mount Ruapehu. Ohakune comes alive during the Ski Season, but during the quieter months a different kind of attraction brings the locals together - the Carrot Carnival.
Surrounded by rich, volcanic soils, the Waimarino Plains around Ohakune have been a bountiful growing region supplying wider New Zealand for over 70 years. The cold weather makes it ideal for winter crops such as carrots, parsnips, Swedes, potatoes and Brussells Sprouts. We went along to check out the Carrot Carnival action.
Stalls, baking, carrot soup, cute kids and Ohakune's answer to the X-Factor ensued (local acts performed from a truck stage).