Start your journey from the Pou at the Park and Ride at National Park Village. From the Pou, follow the markers over the railway line and turn left to ride parallel with the maintrunk line.
Entering the loop track through a set of cycle squeeze bars, turn left and head west, and over a bridge.
Soon after a toilet and another bridge, the track branches.
Taking the West Branch line, you will discover fascinating historical points including:
- a small dam that was used as a water refilling station for bush lokeys. The small locomotive engine used for hauling logs on tramways was known as site of a significant jigger crash .
- a cutting forged through the pumice to ease the gradient for the bush trams to extract logs.
- a lokey (also spelt ‘loci’) or loco. Steam had been used on some bush tramways since 1871, but in the early 1900s there was a revolution: the advent of steel rails, and geared lokeys. These locomotives were designed for the extremely steep grades, sharp curves, and uneven tracks in the bush.
At the top of the climb, turn left onto Cuff Road and follow this down until you see the cycle squeeze barrier to re-enter the bush sections of trail.
Proceed to a road junction and go right onto Erua Road for a kilometre to join to the Whanganui Sash & Door Company tramline. There is a gentle descent to the Waimarino Stream with incredible views over the Erua frost flats towards Mount Hauhungatahi and Tūroa Ski Area.
Across the road bridge over the Waimarino stream follow the trail to left through pine trees. Further along a sign indicates the shallow ford crossing the Waimarino Stream This alternative route avoids having to cross the NIMT railway and SH4.
Alternatively: The trail then turns North following the Waimarino stream towards Erua and parallel to the North Island Main trunk line – one of New Zealand’s key freight arteries. Please take care at the railway crossing – this is a live line.
Finally, after a small loop at Waikune, you’ll head back parallel to the railway line before reconnecting with the gate you entered through at the beginning.