From Upokongaro, take the road underpass and head over the cycle bridge.
Opened in December 2020, the impressive 130m curved structure connects the two villages removing a long detour for locals and a section of busy SH4 for cyclists.
Follow the cycle path down Papaiti Rd. This pleasant stretch will take you alongside the river, past rural landscapes and quiet neighbourhoods before reaching the Dublin St Bridge, one of three road bridges connecting both sides of the city.
From the Dublin St Bridge, a dedicated shared pathway takes you along the river towards the city centre. You’ll ride passed sculptures, including three giant HB pencils (Balancing Act by Daniel Clifford) and a stone, wood and steel sculpture honouring the significance of the river (From the Mountain to the Sea by Mike Durel Browne, Kerry McDonnell and Max Cody).
You’ll soon reach the city centre. If you arrive on a Saturday, you’ll cycle right past the craft and food markets situated by the river – known to be one of the best markets in the North Island. Nearby is the Whanganui i-SITE, which has plenty of bike parking, water fountains, toilets and a bicycle maintenance station. The i-SITE team can also help you sort accommodation or tours around the city.
This is a great opportunity to stop and explore the city. You’ll find plenty of options for coffee and a bite to eat, as well as art galleries and boutique shopping. A short walk around town will take you past heritage architecture and vibrant street art. The murals are a perfect opportunity to get some cool bike selfies.
Take a short detour across the river and ride the Durie Hill Elevator up the hill. It costs $2 (cash only) for you and your bike – and is a magical place to reflect out over the river you have travelled down. On a clear day you can see all the way back to Mt Ruapehu and the start of your journey.
From the i-SITE, the shared pathway continues along the river before entering suburbs and then the industrial area. Keep an eye out for the M2S markers cycle trail signage to keep on track.
When the river path ends, you’ll detour onto Heads Rd towards the seaside suburb of Castlecliff. To reach the end of the trail at the Tasman Sea, you can turn off Heads Rd onto Morgan St for a direct route or onto Short St to a riverside path popular for fishing and recreation.
The Mountains to Sea Cycle – Ngā Ara Tūhono trail ends at North Mole, a dramatic, driftwood-strewn beach on the northern side of the Whanganui River breakwater.
Congratulations on completing your journey.
Head back to the city along the same route or explore the bohemian seaside suburb of Castlecliff. If you ride a few blocks inland from the river, you’ll find Rangiora St, home to the Citadel café and a ceramics gallery.
Celebrate your journey as you look back towards the mountains and reflect on your adventure