Mountain Biking at Tongariro National Park/Ohakune- Mt.Ruapehu District
The Ohakune Old Coach Road links a number of fascinating pieces of New Zealand's rail heritage in a journey through a spectacular part of Tongariro National Park.
The Department of Conservation in partnership with Ohakune 2000 and the Tongariro Natural History Society have re-developed the Ohakune Old Coach Road as part of the Ruapehu-Whanganui cycle trail, and it is now a new walkway and cycleway.
Ohakune/Tongariro National Park Tracks
Ohakune Old Coach Road (Horopito to Ohakune)
The trail connects Ohakune to Horopito along the track that was once used by horse and carriage to connect train travellers between Ohakune and Raurimu. The train tracks initially did not connect the North Island seamlessly.
This is a 14 km track comprising predominately grade two level, although there are some sections that are grade three and would pose a challenge to novice riders.
A significant feature on the trail is the Hapuawhenua Viaduct, which is a rare, curved lattice viaduct with 13 concrete piers and four steel towers, constructed in 1908. It holds a Category 1 listing by the Historic Places Trust.
The trail features interpretative signage highlighting key features and history at various points.
Fishers Track (National Park Village to Oio Road)
From National Park Railway Station a gentle 3km climb takes cyclists over the saddle where they then descent 520 m into the Retaruke Valley before ending, at the Oio Road junction.
The track features spectacular view of the volcanic mountains and travels through native bush. In total Fishers Track is 21 km.
Oio Road to Whakahoro
From Retaruke Road the trail follows Oio road to Whakahoro for 27 km - 18km of this is gravel. This is a scenic ride along a relatively quite back country road (only 25 vehicles per day) following the Retaruke Valley with bridges over several steep side tributaries.
Mangapurua Valley/Raetihi Loop
Bridge to Nowhere
Enter this spectacular area via Ruatiti and loop to the Bridge to Nowhere via the Mangapurua Track. This trail features a jet boat leg down the Whanganui River to Pipiriki.
The initial up-hill and remote nature of this track is most suited to more adventurous, competent riders.
Riders start the trail ascending for approximately 1 hour to the Mangapurua Trig and from there the ride is downhill thorugh the Valley. The second day incorporates the Bridge to Nowhere (pictured right) and a jet boat ride to Pipikiri.
Considered one of the best mountain bke rides in North Island. It follows old logging tracks through some of the most remote landin NZ in State Forest 42 in the Tongariro Forest. There are challenging downhills&muscle testing uphills, through lush native forest with sweeping views of the central North Island mountains eg. Echo Point. Highlights include the stunning Canyon Valley,several river crossings and a pub at the end.
It is around 46 km with overall descent of 520m and takes 4-6 hours. Be prepared and equipped for the rapid changeable weather.
Information Credit: Central North Island Rail Trail: Feasibility and High Level Business Case prepared for the Ruapehu District Council and Rural Mayoral Taskforce for Economic Development Cycleway Committee.
Mountain to Sea cycle trail
The Mangapurua, Kaiwhakauka, Bridge to Nowhere and Ohakune Old Coach Road tracks are part of the Ruapehu - Whanganui Trails - Ngā Ara Tūhono Cycle Trail approved as part of the New Zealand Cycle Trail Project - Nga Haerenga. This project is a partnership between Iwi, DOC, Ruapehu District Council and Wanganui District Council.
The Mangapurua (33 km) and Kaiwhakauka (17.5 km) tracks form a track system that is currently maintained as a tramping track. The Bridge to Nowhere track (2.7 km) is currently maintained as a walking track and provides access from the Whanganui River to the iconic Bridge to Nowhere. The tracks follow historic roads originally installed to service the two valleys that were settled as part of rehabilitation settlements where land was offered to returned soldiers following World War 1. The valleys are steeped in history and the Mangapurua Valley forms one of the country's largest managed historic area.
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