Linking the Ohakune Old Coach Road with the Mangapurua Track, this long and occasionally hilly section is mostly ridden by riders completing the whole Mountains to Sea Trail but has plenty of merits, including pretty scenery along the meandering Manganui-o-te-ao River.
Riding the Trail
Middle & Ruatiti Roads are mostly used by riders completing the whole Mountains to Sea Trail, and although relatively scenic it’s not commonly undertaken as a standalone ride. Many riders preferring to catch a shuttle to the start of the Mangapurua Track.
Overall, the ride is downhill, losing around 400m in elevation over 45km. However, some steep climbs – especially towards the end of Ruatiti Road – make it best suited to fit cyclists.
From Horopito, Middle Road is 1km south along busy SH4, so riders need to have their wits about them for this short section.
From there, riders turn right and head west for approximately 14km to the junction with Ruatiti Road which winds through increasing hilly farmland.
Halfway along Ruatiti Road (15km from the junction) is Ruatiti Domain, where there are toilets and basic camping. This hidden gem is particularly pleasant in summer when visitors and locals enjoy swimming and fishing in the pretty Manganui-o-te-ao River.
Note that after the Domain, the road turns to gravel for the final 15 km to the start of the Mangapurua Track.