The track starts out by Smash Palace, a huge classic car wreckers/ museum. From there you will ride along a rural road section before entering The Tongariro National Park.
The track flows through areas of native grasses, flax, and ferns before traversing a designated rail crossing.
A short climb up brings you to the Taonui Viaduct, a great photo spot. From there you drop down under the viaduct into magnificent native forest before a long steady climb to the highest part of the track as expansive views of the Ohakune basin come into view.
The payoff for that climb is about 3km of flowing downhill riding on a great surface in beautiful forest. This section ends with a series of narrow winding corners with steep drop offs. (Take caution here). At the T junction, the track continues to the right, but make sure you turn left to visit the Hāpuawhenua Viaduct, which is only about 100 metres from the junction.
The Hāpuawhenua Viaduct is a must opportunity for selfies. Check out the view and the fire buckets at the end. (Note: the scoria track underneath the viaduct is not part of the trail).
The track then climbs over a small hill through more native forest delivering you to the entrance of the hand dug rail tunnel that goes through the hill you have just traversed. The tunnel is no longer used, and you can ride the full length of it. It is blocked off at the other end, so you must come back the way you came. (A torch is handy here).
Enjoy the benefits of riding on the original sections of sett stones which test your suspension but provide a great all- weather surface. Stop at the panels detailing the original North Island Main trunk line surveying choices – fascinating planning in an age before satellites and computers. The final section is a long grassy downhill along the side of the hill to Marshall's car park. Follow the markers turning left into Old Station Road. The trail officially finishes at the Old Railway station just past the Te Pepe pump track. (A great place for railway inspired insta shot.)
If you are heading back into town, we recommend that you follow the Mangawhero shared path along the stream and finish your ride with refreshments in town.