The six sections start with the Mountain Road, a view-filled descent down Mt Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park. The trail then follows the Ohakune Old Coach Road, an historic byway featuring jaw-dropping railway viaducts and lush native forest.
The quiet, country Ruatiti Road section leads to the Mangapurua Track, a classic backcountry mountain bike ride through the wilds of Whanganui National Park. Long-deserted pioneer farms, lofty bluffs and the Bridge to Nowhere are among its highlights.
A thrilling jetboat ride, or memorable kayak adventure will take you down the Whanganui River to Pipiriki, the start of the Whanganui River Road. The importance of Te Awa Tupua–Whanganui River was underscored by its declaration in 2017 as a living entity in landmark legislation and a United Nations proclamation.
The River Road is a tranquil meander notable for important Māori and settler history, with fascinating heritage sites dotted along it. Continuing through to Whanganui, New Zealand’s only UNESCO City of Design, the Great Ride follows a super-easy riverside trail that’s a deservedly popular day ride for visitors.
Keen mountain bikers can also factor in two more classic sections – the Fishers (grade 3, intermediate) and Kaiwhakauka (grade 4, advanced) tracks.