Rangipo Desert is a barren desert-like environment in New Zealand, located in the Ruapehu District on the North Island Volcanic Plateau; to the east of the three active peaks of Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe, and Mount Ruapehu, and to the west of the Kaimanawa Range. Location of the Rangipo Desert The Rangipo Desert receives 1500 - 2500 mm of rainfall per year, but resembles a desert because of a poor soil quality and drying winds. The vegetation is minimal and scrubby, and the headwaters of many small streams, later to turn into large rivers, gouge deep serrated valleys through the earth. The climate here is harsh and alpine, with close to 270 ground frosts per year in comparison with less than 30 in the coastal regions of Hawke's Bay, 80 kilometres to the east. Heavy snowfalls - rarely seen in the rest of the island - are also a common occurrence in winter.