The Town of Owhango 39º South

Owhango is a small town in New Zealand situated about 20km south of Taumarunui on State Highway 4 (SH4) and straddles the Tongariro State Forest Park (State Forest 42) on the east and the eastern reaches of the Whanganui National Park on the western side. The town lies on the 39 South Circle of Latitude which spans across South America, the bottom of Australia and through the middle of Owhango. Also known as 39th Parallel South.

Formerly Owhango was a Mill Town, milling native timbers from around the local area.

The main trunk line runs alongside the Owhango township and was used as the main supply line carrying timber and livestock north and south to other parts of the country.

The main mill burned to the ground in the 1970s. Some of the mill houses are now holiday homes owned by city dwellers keen on the skiing, fishing, hunting, canoeing and tramping opportunities that abound in the surrounding area. The main industry running out of Owhango today is farming and tourism.

Village Population

The village has a population of little more than 200 and has a primary school, a ski shop, garage, hotel, accommodation lodges, motel, cottages for hire and bed and breakfast/homestay places.

Owhango Village

The village is one of the most picturesque in New Zealand with a backdrop of native forest and Mount Ruapehu.

In the spring, the village trees and gardens are alive with native birds, most notably Tui and Kererū and is often a favourite spot for Forest & Bird members to travel to and enjoy bird watching. A delightful domain set amongst native forest features large open playing fields, children’s play area and two tennis courts.

A loop track through Ohinetonga Scenic Reserve begins at the picnic area by the Whakapapa River Bridge and takes two to three hours to walk.

It passes through the different forest types and offers beautiful views of the river and surrounding landscape. A boardwalk crosses Ohinetonga lagoon.

Beyond the lagoon, the track leads back down to the river and a good swimming hole.

Visit our town website at for more information.