Mangapurua Track (Bridge to Nowhere)
One of Aotearoa - New Zealand's iconic rides. A must ride classic New Zealand adventure for experienced riders. Journey back in time through a remote, long-deserted valley to the mystical Whanganui River.
Ride through the Whanganui National Park passing overgrown farms, native forest, dramatic bluffs, and deep ravines before crossing the Bridge to Nowhere, a graceful monument to early settlers’ broken dreams. The jet boat ride to Pipiriki is an invigorating way to end this wilderness adventure.
- Connection to the iconic Whanganui river – NZ’s second longest and legally protected as a living entity
- Whanganui River jet boat ride
- Bridge to Nowhere, a poignant memorial to broken dreams of settlers
- Poignant post-WWI history
- National park wilderness
- Remote farming valley
- Prebook your jetboat prior to departure.
- This track rides well when it's dry - if it's wet the papa turns into slippery and sticky mud. Consider the weather before departing - and allow extra time in wet conditions.
Alternative route options if the Mangapurua Trig - Landing is Closed
Check out these options if the Trig to the Landing is closed due to weather or slips. There are plenty of ways to experience the wonder of the valleys (and get to the Bridge too)
Maybe closed in Winter or severe weather | Check status
Track is a Grade 3, however in or after significant rain may ride as a Grade 4 with slippery papa surface.
History & Background
The Mangapurua Valley is steeped in history, being one of the first areas offered to returning WWI soldiers in 1917 for farming. At its peak there were 46 farms in twin valleys, established through the back-breaking work of families who cleared and worked the land.
There are two common ways to enter the Mangapurua.
The classic route takes you up the Ruatiti Valley, as the connection between Ohakune Old Coach Road and up towards the Mangapurua Trig.
Alternatively - the Adventure route (taken by Tour Aotearoa Riders), brings riders up the Kaiwhakauka where you enter the trail at the Pou (around 2kms below the Trig)
An amazing ride in the dry - this track can certainly take its toll on your gear in the wet when the tracks papa clay surface turns very sticky. Plan ahead.
Need to Know
The Mangapurua Track is made up of remote, rough-and-ready 4WD track and backcountry singletrack, much of which is on papa clay – smooth, fast and flowing when dry, but super-slippery in the wet. The majority of the riding is not especially technical but there are steep drop-offs to the side in some places
The track also sidles around a series of bluffs with precipitous drop-offs and rock-fall hazards. Riders should take extra care on these sections, as signposted.
These factors make it a Grade 3 (intermediate trail suited to experienced mountain bikers, rain or shine.)
Please be aware, after rain or severe weather condition of the Mangapurua track may change. At any stage, there may be fresh debris or windfalls on the track, particularly around the papa bluff sections. After significant rain, please check the track status updates on this site: the chance of a new slip or windfall is high.
- The Managapurua track is open on a seasonal basis only, (Winter closure).
- The track may also close temporarily for inspection after heavy weather events: Please do check the Track status for current conditions. The team at the Department of Conservation are committed to providing a safe and enjoyable track, and work hard to maintain this remote section - and we thank them.
- Consider riding Mangapurua only if you have sound riding skills and are prepared to ride with due care. The Whanganui national park is a remote, dynamic terrain and environment; hence the track requires respect at all times as conditions may change unexpectedly.
- As you cycle through the trail, if you do encounter any section, you have doubts about your ability to cross, then please walk. (These sections are generally very short). It is recommended you position your bike on the outside edge of any fall hazard (bluffs or drop offs), this is the safest and most balanced way to cross narrow sections.
- E-bikers and those with panniers — be aware you may be required to lift/carry your bike around debris
- There is no mobile coverage, you are advised to take basic tools and safety gear, including a PLB
- A good-quality, well-maintained mountain bike is essential. Decent bike mechanical skills are a must as it’s a long way from help.
- Mountains to Sea markers line the trail at regular intervals and track junctions are clearly signposted. Download our ride guide to help time your ride and identify the many interesting landmarks.
- The best time to ride the track is between November and April when the weather is most settled. However, heavy rain can occur at any time of year in Whanganui National Park and track conditions can change quickly. Riders should therefore be prepared for every eventuality.
- Be sure to check the weather forecast, and pick a fine day to ride if at all possible. DOC, tour operators and local visitor centres can advise on various expectations including current track conditions.
- This is a wilderness ride with no shops or services. Riders should take plenty of food and water, although there are places to fill water bottles along the way. Very basic supplies including ice creams and drinks are available at the campground in Pipiriki.
- There is virtually no cellphone reception on the track. Riders should consider carrying a PLB (personal locator beacon) or ‘spot tracker’.
- All shuttle and jet boat transport must be booked in advance.
- Local tour operators offer a variety of packages including two and three-day adventures with accommodation.
- Public toilets are located at the start of the track and at regular intervals along the way at the Mangapurua Trig, Johnson’s, Bettjeman’s, Hellawell’s and just after the Bridge to Nowhere.
- This section of the Mountains to Sea connects with Middle & Ruatiti Roads and Whanganui River Road at Pipiriki.