Status: In progress. 97% completed
Duration: 4-6 days
Total Length: 317km
The full trail will start on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu, cross the 294-metre Hapuawhenua viaduct, pass through Tongariro and Whanganui National Parks and then the cross the Bridge to Nowhere. Riders will then take a jet boat ride down the Whanganui River to Pipiriki and cycle to Wanganui along the Whanganui River Road.
The Ruapehu-Whanganui Trails will cross two national parks with outstanding scenery and an area rich in natural and cultural heritage. The full ride will be a 4-6 day ride covering 317km.
The trails are made up of the Ohakune Old Coach Road, Fishers Track at National Park Village, Kaiwhakauka Track, Mangapurua Track and finally the Bridge to Nowhere and Mangapurua Landing. Considerable work on these trails has already been completed and during 2011, final track surfacing and enhancement work is continuing to be carried out.
Ohakune Old Coach Road Trail
The Ohakune Old Coach Road section is complete and was opened in July 2010. This 14km stretch of trail follows the historic Old Coach Road between what were the railheads of the main truck railway line before the line was finally completed in 1909. It offers a great family bike ride through some spectacular scenery, and link trails to Hapuawhenua and Taonui viaducts, which offer great historic interest as well. From Horopito the cycle trail follows a rural road network for 44km to the beginning of the Mangapurua Track.
The Fishers Track is complete and is open for use. This 17km stretch of trail follows the old bridal trail between Upper Retaruke Valley and National Park Village. It offers a great family bike ride through some spectacular scenery, and link trails to Kaiwhakauka Track and the historic Mangapurua Track.
The Mangapurua Track
The Mangapurua (33km) and Kaiwhakauka (17.5km) tracks form a trail system that has been upgraded from a tramping track to a multi-use trail for trampers, walkers, cyclists and in some areas, access for hunting using quad bikes. The Bridge to Nowhere track (2.7km from Mangapurua Landing) 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. Over the past months, enhancement work has been carried out on the Mangapurua Track section of the trail. This section is now a fully usable trail for cycle trail purposes.
The Kaiwhakauka Track is also being upgraded. The period of construction began in spring 2010 and the completion date was projected to be the end of April 2011. Due to delays, this completion date is now likely to be mid June 2011. At this stage, the trail is still able to be used as a tramping track but cyclists are asked to consider cycle trail use for the months of spring and summer only. This will allow the track a chance to settle down after formation and construction and also for DoC to address any drainage issues throughout the winter of 2011. Users are asked to take caution when negotiating this section of the trail. The remainder of The Ruapehu-Whanganui Trails route largely follows public roads or the Whanganui River.
Best time to ride
The cycle trail starts in the Mt Ruapehu alpine zone and passes through rich forests on its journey to the Whanganui coast. Most of the year, the trails are easily accessible for day rides however if you are considering riding the full trail or doing multiple day trail rides, then summer is the best season for this.
Two key locations to start the trails are at National Park Village on State Highway 4 and at Ohakune Junction off State Highway 49. However, there are many access points along the trail route. All trail sections have return access by road or river transport.
The Ruapehu District Council, Whanganui Iwi, Wanganui District Council, Waitomo District Council, Department of Conservation, The New Zealand Cycle Trail project. The trail partnerships are under the umbrella of the Central North Island Cycle Trail Partnership.
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