The vision of truly connected pathways from Mountains (Tūroa) to the Tasman Sea (Whanganui) is set to become a reality thanks to the announcement by the Minister of Regional Development Shane Jones, that the Ruapehu sections to trails will receive $4.6 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund. This coupled with existing funding that was held over from the original NZ Cycle Trails development under the last government means work will get underway on the final sections. (Total investment in the new trails is $6.6M)
The new sections of trail include:
- Te Ara Mangawhero: Off road trail approximately 19km long from Tūroa to Ohakune taking cyclists through the spectacular flanks of Mt Ruapehu. Cyclists and walkers will no longer have to travel down the Ohakune Mountain Road but instead navigate via a new purpose-built cycle trail befitting of a Great Ride. The proposed trail utilises sections of the Old Blyth Track, winds through Rimu Hill and makes the most of the old Bennett and Punch tramline.
- Mangawhero Link track - approximately 11km of trail connecting riders and walkers from part way down the Te Ara Mangawhero across to Horopito.
- Missing Link (working title), connecting Horopito (and the end of the Ohakune Old Coach Road) to National Park Village via Pōkākā and Makatote valleys – and will utilise existing old State highway paths and the popular Marton Sash and Door tramline trails.
The Mountains to Sea – Ngā Ara Tūhono network of trails is a significant drawcard to both the Ruapehu and Whanganui districts – with iconic sections including the Ohakune Old Coach Road and Mangapurua - Bridge to Nowhere bringing riders on an exciting and diverse journey from Tūroa to North Mole in Whanganui.
This is a significant achievement by the local Ruapehu District community who have been planning and advocating for these trails for several years. It is expected that the trails will assist in drawing over 27,000 additional visitors to the region adding to its popularity and reputation as the centre of The Greater Outdoors playground. Ruapehu District Council Mayor Don Cameron said that “this development will not only add significant immediate jobs but continue to build on the economic development platform for the District”.
Jo Kennedy – General Manager of Visit Ruapehu is excited “that these extensions will continue to cement the changing dynamic for domestic and future international tourism in the region, and underscores the growing trend for visitors to come and experience the best of our outdoors.”
It is expected that some sections will be ready by next summer with the target of mid 2023 for the completed trails.
These developments, coupled with the significant work that is being completed on the Whanganui National Park sections (Mangapurua – Bridge to Nowhere) and Kaiwhakauka this summer, will cement the Mountains to Sea cycle trails with its significant historical and cultural connections as a must do multi day adventure ride.
Mountains to Sea – Ngā Ara Tūhono is one of New Zealand’s 22 Great rides, navigating the journey from Tūroa to the Tasman Sea via the Whanganui. It’s connected pathways create memories from an adventure through some of New Zealand’s most undiscovered and special places.